Flush with $30 million in new funding, mobile advertising and monetization company Tapjoy is on a bit of an executive hiring spree and the latest addition is Peter Dille, former SVP of Sony Computer Entertainment America who helped launch the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network. Dille’s hire is a big coup for Tapjoy, but it’s also a sign of the larger shift in gaming from consoles and portables to smartphones, where mobile gaming is taking off.
Dille, who left Sony in March after a 13-year career spanning two separate stints, will join Tapjoy as chief marketing officer. Tapjoy, which now reaches 250 million consumers, has become one of the top app monetization services for developers and publishers with its incentivized installs, offer wall, banner and cost per action ads. It recently claimed to have helped make 10,000 apps freemium, many of them games.
That Dille would end up at a mobile marketing start-up reflects where the momentum is in gaming. Flurry reported earlier this year that mobile gaming revenue in the U.S. hit $800 million last year, up from $500 million in 2009, taking one-third of portable gaming revenues. Those number are expected to go up, at the expense of devices like the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. Juniper Research said worldwide mobile gaming revenue will hit $11 billion by 2015.
“The mobile space is poised for continued hyper growth, and I’m looking forward to helping the team build its core business globally as well as begin to leverage the Tapjoy network’s incredible reach with consumers,” Dille said.
Meanwhile, traditional gaming companies like Nintendo, which has shunned the smartphone gaming market, are suffering; Nintendo slashed its forecast last quarter after reporting an operating loss, which was affected by slow sales of its latest handheld console, the 3DS.
Dille’s hire also highlights the momentum behind Tapjoy, which has raised about $41 million in 2011 alone. The company also hired former Veraz Networks and PalmSource CFO Al Wood as its chief financial officer in July. And it’s rebounded nicely from Apple’s decision earlier this year to ban incentivized install campaigns, one of Tapjoy’s top tools, because of apparent concerns it was gaming the App Store rankings.
There is a booming market for mobile app development services, as developers and publishers try to capitalize on the wide prevalence of smartphones. I fully expect to see more traditional gaming executive talent flow to startups and new companies serving the mobile gaming market as the growth of smartphone gaming continues.