RealTime IT News

RealNetworks Buys Into Mobile Games

RealNetworks is entering the mobile gaming market with its $15 million acquisition of a European-based firm, executives said Wednesday.

Seattle-based Real said it finalized its purchase of Mr.Goodliving on May 6. The Helsinki-based company distributes the Playman Sports series and the European-distribution rights for the mobile edition of Trivial Pursuit.

Mr.Goodliving will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Real. All of the Finnish employees will continue with Real and remain in Helsinki. Real said Mr.Goodliving CEO Juha Ruskola will continue on as Managing Director and lead Real's mobile games business in Europe, Middle-East and Africa. Best known for its audio and video playback technology, Real said it plans on expanding the reach of Mr.Goodliving's titles into the United States and Asia.

While Real already has a thriving games business through its RealArcade and GameHouse Studios, the addition of mobile gaming could end up being a cash cow for the company. JupiterResearch's recent "Wireless Market Forecast, 2004 to 2009," reported mobile games revenues of $24 million in 2003. That number tripled to $72 million in 2004 and is expected to reach $430 million in 2009. JupiterResearch is owned by the same parent company of this site.

By comparison, Real's PC-based casual games business generated more than $12 million in revenue in the first quarter of 2005, an 80 percent increase over Q1 2004.

Real said it has relationships with more than 70 wireless operators around the globe, and said it plans to build upon those relationships for mobile games distribution. Some of those new relationships will come through Mr.Goodliving's portfolio of more than 100 distributors and carriers including, Vodafone Global Content Services, MMO2 Group, Telefonica, H3G, T-Mobile International, and Orange Group.

In addition to a burgeoning mobile games business, Real said it is also getting Mr.Goodliving's proprietary development platform called EMERGE. The game publishing tool supports more than 200 handsets in 20 languages.

Real executives said combining Mr.Goodliving's mobile games titles with Real's existing library of casual games, and using the EMERGE deployment technology will give it an edge in today's hyper-competitive mobile marketplace.

"Four years ago, we entered the casual games market with RealArcade. In that time, we have established a strong leadership position on the PC," Real chairman and CEO Rob Glaser said in a statement. "Mr.Goodliving has a proven record throughout Europe, where mass market adoption of advanced mobile services is firmly established. By joining forces with Mr.Goodliving, we are now expanding our casual games business onto mobile handsets worldwide."