In 2020, forecasts from Newzoo stated that there would be 2.6 billion mobile gamers. Not only that, but smartphones and tablets accounted for 48 per cent of the global gaming industry’s revenue, with a total of £55.75 billion. The mobile section of the market enjoyed a 13.3 per cent year-on-year growth, which speaks volumes about its current popularity. As such, it’s unsurprising that Electronic Arts are moving to acquire Glu Mobile.
EA, the second-largest video game company in Europe by revenue, are striving to heighten their involvement in the mobile market. Because of this, their ambition has seen them purchase Glu Mobile, a California-based mobile games developer. So, what does EA’s multibillion move into the mobile games sector mean for the future of smartphone gaming?
A Multibillion-Pound Takeover
In recent times, EA has sought to strengthen its grip on the gaming industry by purchasing various development studios. On the face of it, their decision to buy Glu Mobile follows something of a recent pattern. Back in 2017, the creators of FIFA bought Respawn Entertainment for around £328 million. However, in terms of price, the San Mateo-based company isn’t holding back in its efforts to break into the mobile world. According to Eurogamer, Electronic Arts paid £1.52 billion to acquire Glu Mobile.
Between 2005 and 2019, Glu Mobile’s revenue figures rose exponentially. As per Macrotrends, the developer’s annual figures sat at £18.78 million in their first year. By 2007, this total had more than doubled to £48.4 million, and the 2019 tally shows revenues of £296.9 million. Ultimately, this data showcases the company’s impressive rise throughout the mid-2000s and 2010s.
By their own admission, Glu Mobile is the leader in 3D Freemium mobile gaming. By definition, this term combines free and premium, highlighting their desire to provide high-quality entertainment to mobile gamers. Fascinatingly, this free-to-play approach offers insight into their modern-day success. As per the earlier study from Newzoo, only 38 percent of gamers paid for mobile titles in 2020. In turn, 62 percent of players immersed themselves in free-to-play creations, such as those made by Glu Mobile.
In the past, EA have created their own mobile games, including FIFA Mobile in 2016 and Mirror’s Edge in 2010. However, the company are yet to master the industry like Glu Mobile. As such, their purchase of the Freemium-centred developers will likely see them take a new approach to smartphone gaming.
Seeking to Expand Their Audience Through Casual Games
According to IronSource, the hyper-casual mobile games market is worth around £1.44 billion. Interestingly, this genre has attracted 100 million new players to the platform, which speaks volumes about its appeal. Prior to being acquired by EA, Glu Mobile specialised in casual games, creating Dear Hunter 2018, Diner Dash, MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2019, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and many more.
Reuter suggests that this multibillion-pound purchase is EA’s way of expanding their gaming library within the mobile world. Given that casual, pick-up-and-play creations have taken the industry by storm in the 21st century, it provides a route for EA to become a leading player within the remote gaming sector. Interestingly, the same report also states that it presents an opportunity for the second-largest developer in Europe to attract more female players, with Kim Kardashian: Hollywood successfully enticing new players since its release in 2014.
It’s not only Glu Mobile who’ve shown that casual gaming is the way forward, as online casinos have also recently done so. For example, those playing top Vegas online slots at VegasSlotsOnline can immerse themselves in over 10,000 free-to-play slot games. Of those, many are casual, including Golden Goddess, Rainbow Riches, and Wizard of Oz. Furthermore, this platform also highlights how Freemium creations have expanded into the web-based casino industry, and its ability to attract new players. If EA wishes to triumph in the mobile market, then they’ll have to embrace this casual, free-to-play approach.
Will the Investment Pay Dividends?
Ultimately, there are no guarantees that EA’s purchase of Glu Mobile will transform their remote-gaming fortunes. However, it undoubtedly opens the door to a market that they’ve previously struggled to master. If EA can use the experience, knowledge, and prior success of Glu Mobile advantageously, then there’s nothing to suggest that they can’t become a leading player in mobile gaming.