Earnings: Gameloft Calls 2008 A Turning Point For Mobile Games; iPhone Lifts Q3 Revenues

imageParis-based Gameloft (EPA: GFT), which distributes mobile games in 80 countries, reported limited figures for its third-quarter period this year. But the big news announced in its earnings call? The company declared this year as a turning point in the mobile game industry because of strong sales coming from new platforms such as the iPhone and Nokia’s N-Gage. In Q3, Gameloft reported sales of $33 million (26.2 million euros), an 8 percent increase over the year-ago period. In the nine-month period, the company’s revenues totaled $96.4 million (76.5 million euros), a 9 percent increase over the same period a year ago. In North America, sales jumped 18 percent, partly due to the success of such iPhone titles as RealSoccer 2009, Bubble Bash and car-racing game Asphalt 4. Europe still makes up the majority of the company’s business at 41 percent, but North America is now 31 percent and the rest of the world is 28 percent.

Despite the tough economic climate, Gameloft said it anticipates its growth rate to accelerate dramatically in Q4 thanks to the upcoming release of several games for iPhone, N-Gage, Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii. In a release, the company said: “2008 is a turning point in the mobile gaming industry. The major innovations introduced by companies such as Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) have radically transformed and improved the gaming experience, consumption behaviors, as well as the industry’s business model.”

A lot of mobile game companies were anticipating an uptick in mobile-game adoption from the iPhone, but this quarter will be the first time we can really see the impact since the iPhone App Store was launched in July. Tomorrow, after Glu Mobile releases its Q3 figures, we’ll be able to see if the impact was broader. However, not all companies are optimistic — just last week, Nokia cautioned that the global economic slowdown will hurt the mobile gaming market this year and in 2009. Jaakko Kaidesoja, head of Nokia’s gaming operations, told Reuters: “This year is as tough or even tougher. There are hiccups in Western Europe, North America.”

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