QuicklyBored likes Glu because they’re a publisher that takes mobile gaming as seriously as we do. Their love for this little industry of ours is also reflected in the quality of their games, with titles like Super KO Boxing and Insaniquarium featuring a level of polish and attention to detail thatï¿½s hard to find elsewhere.
So we were ecstatic to be offered the opportunity to grill CEO Greg Ballard on Glu’s position as an industry player (i.e. how afraid are they of EA?) as well as some comments Greg made at last month’s CTIA.
Greg Ballard has been around the gaming industry for a long time, from Capcom to 3Dfx and even Digital Pictures (Sega CD anyone?), so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to hear him endorse the arrival of console companies into the mobile space. Still, we had to wonder when Ballard said at CTIA that EA’a acquisition of JAMDAT (and with it, first place in the mobile industry) was an incredible validation of mobile gaming. How does the appearance of the McDonald’s of gaming (2 billion served, untold thousands of competitors digested) improve the mobile space?
We were talking about the importance of marketing to consumers, and one of the advantages that a large company like EA has coming into the business is that they bring with them large marketing budgets. If EA puts a logo on every one of their Madden or Sims commercials that says “available on mobile” that’s going to help the industry as a whole. I think that large companies coming in not only validates the industry, it tells the outside world that itï¿½s a real business.
So McDonald’s doesn’t put up a new store unless they think there’s some money to be made - got it. But the arrival of gaming’s 800 lb. gorilla raises significant questions for a mobile publisher like Glu. Namely, how the hell do they hope to compete against an 800 lb. gorilla?
To his credit, Ballard doesn’t seem fazed by the challenge. In fact, Glu’s mastermind will go so far as to tell you that EA’s monolithic stature is an exploitable weakness in the mobile space.
We wake up in the morning and the only thing we think about is mobile games; EA wakes up in the morning and they think about consoles, DSs and PSPs and a lot of other things before they think about mobile gaming. Even with the acquisition of JAMDAT, itï¿½s still not their biggest priority within EA and that gives us a leg up.
For those looking to dismiss Ballard’s comments as dooming hubris, recognize that he’s right when he says that EA would have never done Super KO Boxing. Sure, Glu can’t make licensed sports games anymore (and anyone thinking of doing so should remember what EA did to SEGA), but do we really need more licensed mobile sports games in the first place?