The studio behind addictive matching puzzle game Candy Crush has begun the process of filing for its U.S. IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Re/Code reports. The UK company will look to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ‘KING’ ticker symbol should everything go according to plan.
Last year, Candy Crush was the top earning title on any mobile platform according to mobile app analytics firm Distimo, since it occupied a top spot on both iOS and Android all year. Candy Crush was released halfway through 2012, but it has managed to retain much of its momentum since then, which is impressive in the fickle casual games market. As Re/Code points out, however, King’s revenue declined between the third and fourth quarters of 2013, so it may need its next hit to come along sooner rather than later.
Currently, however, King’s games bring in 1.2 billion daily plays from 128 million daily active users according to the most recent numbers from the company, of which 73 percent come from mobile devices. Candy Crush has definitely been a defining moment for the company, but it has been in the casual games business since 2003, and in its IPO King cites its massive built-in player network (which includes 324 million monthly active users in total) as a key competitive advantage.
Still, it’s hard to deny that Candy Crush has been the overwhelmingly dominant source of growth for King. In its IPO documents, the company reveals that it apparently grew from a profit loss of $1 million in the first quarter of 2012, to a profit gain of $269 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The company is looking to raise $500 million with this IPO according to its filing.
King admits in its list of potential risk factors that “a small number of games currently generate a substantial majority of our revenue,” and that even developing new games could just recirculate its existing audience instead of growing a new one, but also says it plans to strengthen its new game and intellectual property development pipeline, and expand its existing titles to new platform and geographies to retain its competitive edge.
Telefónica’s global network of 14 Wayra Academies, which each incubate a yearly crop of tech startups in the hopes of spotting the next big thing so their carrier overlord doesn’t have to, has gained a new addition to that tally — via a partnership with Chinese incubator Virtue Inno Valley (VIV).
In a press release announcing the partnership today, the pair said they will share resources and “opportunities” to promote each others’ businesses in China and on a global scale. This will include establishing a Coordination Committee to oversee joint actions that will include Wayra and VIV staff.
It’s the thirteenth country Wayra has reached into, and its first foray into Asia. To date, the Academy network’s focus has coincided with Telefónica’s global market strengths, by being concentrated on Latin America and Western Europe.
But today’s partnership with VIV, which is backed by Beijing’s Tsinghua University, expands the reach of the Wayra network into a whole new global region — via a tie-up with an incubator that apparently plays a significant role in telecoms, media & technology (TMT) startup acceleration in China.
According to data shared by the pair, the vast majority (80-90%) of Chinese entrepreneurial projects in the TMT sector will go through the selection pool of VIV. They added that the Tsinghua TMT alumni has included “all key members of the Chinese angel investment community, covering the majority of TMT related entrepreneurial projects in China”.
VIV’s links with “top Chinese OTTs” such as Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and Sohu — and also the Chinese government — are also lauded.
The Wayra-VIV partnership does not appear to involve any rebranding — so it doesn’t look as if VIV will become ‘Wayra China’ (except, colloquially perhaps). But VIV will become a member of the Wayra Global Alliance and, consequently, get access to Wayra’s global network of academies — giving VIV startups a route out to international markets and the possibility for their products to reach Telefónica’s 320M customer base, which spans 24 global countries.
Chinese technology companies can and do build huge user-bases for their products at home — in recent times, in the messaging space, a strong example would be Tencent’s Weixin/WeChat platform (which had some 270M monthly active users as of Q3 last year).
However, translating such domestic success into significant international traction has tended to be more difficult for Chinese tech companies — ergo, the Wayra link may offer some help for regional startups to bridge the gap between success in their home market and building a substantial user-base in the rest of the world, via access to international market mentoring and other resources, including non-Chinese investors.
“Selected Chinese TMT start-ups accelerated by Virtue Inno Valley will have the opportunity to go international through the Wayra global network, including extensive international mentor, partnership and investor resources,” noted Gonzalo Martin-Villa, CEO of Wayra, in a statement.
On the flip side, from Wayra’s point of view, access to the massive Chinese Internet user market is clearly a huge draw — especially as it’s a region where the incubator network lacks its own boots on the ground.
“The Wayra Global Alliance is born with the vision to create a great international network of innovation detection and reduce the gap of investment and commercial opportunities between geographical regions through technology. Thus, we are very happy to extend our global footprint to China through our alliance with Virtue Inno Valley, which provides us with immediate access to early stage innovations emerging from the largest TMT market in the world with 1.4 billion population and already more than 800 million mobile internet users,” added Martin-Villa.
“In the past years, we have consolidated operations in Europe and Latin America, and extending the Wayra network to Asia is a great step for us to create something remarkable in the start-up industry.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 went on sale in North America in time for the holiday season three months ago, and in Western Europe on November 29 last year — and has yet to hit shelves in the company’s home market of Japan — but sales of the gaming console are still going strong.
Sony has surpassed it own full-year target of five million units by the end of March, reporting today (via Reuters) that it had sold 5.3 million units as of February 8.
This comes days after Sony tweeted that the PS4 had been the best selling console in the U.S. in January — beating out Microsoft’s Xbox One, which launched on November 22, although Redmond claimed the top spot for number of games sold.
Microsoft also claimed the top console sales position for December, based on NPD numbers. And said a total of three million of its XbOnes (as the device is colloquially know to tech hacks) were sold in 2013 (vs 4.2 million PS4s — 2.1 million of which were sold in the first two weeks).
Judging by today’s data, Sony’s PS4 is maintaining that early lead, with one core console country left to come in its current rollout schedule.
The PlayStation 4 is due to go on sale in Japan on February 22, kicking off with a live-streamed launch event at the Sony building in Tokyo. Microsoft has yet to nail down a firm launch date for the Xbox One in Japan, beyond saying it will land there sometime in 2014.
Last month, rival Japanese gaming giant Nintendo reported a sales target miss for its controller/console combo, the Wii U – and slashed sales expectations by almost 70% — as it struggles to compete with, on the one hand, home console heavyweights like the PS4 and, at the other end of the market, smartphones being used for casual gaming.