Gamevil Continues Trend: Announces $10 Million Partnership Fund
It may not be a huge trend, but it appears that a growing number of companies are offering funds to assist developers to create and/or promote their apps in the Apple and Android markets. These companies foresee that the number of mobile phones and tablets purchased is only going to keep on rising for the foreseeable future along with the number of apps for these users. It’s a good time to get into the marketplace. Case in point: Gamevil recently announced a $10 million partnership fund for external developers who have smartphone gaming ideas.
Gamevil was established in Seoul, Korea, over a decade ago in 2000 and has over 60 video games and ten award-winning mobile games to its credit, such as Baseball Superstars and ZENONIA. It expanded with an office in Los Angeles in 2006 with an emphasis on mobile games, definitely an early bird for this market. Since then, it has seen a great deal of success in games for game players, reports Kyu Lee, Vice President and head of GAMEVIL USA. Smartphone revenue in the first quarter of 2011 more than tripled from the same period a year earlier. Notably, its new hit game, Air Penguin, reached $1 million in App Store revenue in one month following its debut; this beat all records in the fastest growing apps.
Air Penguin was created by a small Korean developer, Enterfly, supporting Gamevil’s decision to develop both internally as well as with external talent. Lee explains that Gamevil recognizes it has specific areas of expertise, yet cannot be all things to all game players. “We are seeing beautiful apps coming into the app stores every day. There is a great deal of creativity in the marketplace, and Gamevil wants to help fuel it.” The $10 million (with a potential for more in the future) will help Gamevil leverage some of this extra creativity. “We get asked how the $10 million will be divided. That will vary on the games we decide on publishing." Since announcing its new fund, Gamevil has naturally been inundated with would-be grantors, “many who already peak our interest.”
Actually, Gamevil started using this fund in order to acquire exclusive publishing and partial intellectual property (IP) rights of the Cartoon Wars series of games that include such names as Cartoon Wars, Cartoon Wars Gunner and Cartoon Wars 2. Gamevil wins on two accounts: First, it relies on local developers who understand the U.S. market and who create concepts for games that can be enjoyed worldwide. In fact, since the end of 2010, the company has partnered with ten external American game developers, publishing such games as Chalk n’ Talk, Colosseum, Kami Retro, TouchMix and Train City.
According to a July 6 report by Gartner Group companies such as Gamevil are surely on the right track. This track will be going to at least 2015, with estimates of worldwide spending on games (for smartphones, as well as consoles, video and PCs) of $74 billion in 2011, up 10.4 percent from last year’s $67 billion. Spending will reach $112 billion in the next four years. Yet, within the gaming software market, mobile gaming is going to see the largest growth opportunity with its market share expanding from 15 percent to 20 percent over these same years. While the interest in smartphones and tablets keeps growing, gaming will continue to be a major player in the use of these devices. Mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores, so they will remain a leader as growing numbers of consumers expand their use of the latest innovative portable connected devices.
Neilson added to this good news for gaming, also with a report on July 6, saying 93 percent of those individuals who downloaded apps to a smartphone in the last 30 days were willing to pay for gaming apps in comparison to 76 percent of those downloaders who were willing to pay for new apps. Of those playing game apps last month, gamers on iPhones, Windows Phone 7 devices or Android handsets were the most likely to have downloaded the games they played. However, to the contrary, owners of Blackberry phones, or standard cell phone "feature phones," more frequently played games that were pre-loaded onto their devices. The average mobile gamer plays about eight hours a month, with iPhone owners playing over fourteen hours and Android players around nine hours.
Lee says that although Gamevil will look at every app idea received that wants part of the $10 million, their games have been most successful so far with male players age 13 to 24. The company is seeing an increase of female players with recent game entries, however. The more information about the app provided, the better it is for Gamevil to determine the game’s worth, adds Lee. A prototype of the game is the best bet for evaluation purposes.