Mobile Gaming Market in China
The mobile gaming market is still in its infancy, although I think it will eventually become one of the worlds largest just like online gaming in China. Of the publicly traded NASDAQ firms I think SNDA, TOMO, and KONG are best positioned for future market growth as of this moment.
SNDA recently announced the launch of http://www.game-v.com/ which will build upon and market the mobile gaming development of recently acquired Digital Red. For more info on Digital Red and mobile gaming read billsdue and Pacific Epoch:
KONG is perhaps the current market leader in the China Mobile gaming market. Recent mobile game launch example would be Gamblers' Dreamworks designed by Magma Digital and Xing Ji Zhan Jiang from subsidiary Tianjin Mammoth. KONG has excellent government contacts and according to billsdue above may be benefiting by being allowed to directly market mobile games without having to use the China Mobile platform. As a market leader in Mobile gaming it appears KONG is well positioned for overseas licensing arrangements such as this one:
TOMO should be able to build upon some of the development and partnerships of India Games and success in the China WVAS market in general to become a larger mobile gaming player in China.
Other companies well positioned for growth in mobile gaming may include:
NTES I would like to see more investment from this in this area. Popogame their new casual gaming portal should be a good foundation to market such mobile games. I believe Old Boy is the name of their most recent mobile game.
GRVY I like their global distribution platform but am a little worried about the impact of new gaming regulations in China possibly making it harder to import foreign games. Their recent partnership (as discussed on CoolHeadInvestor) with SNDA for RO could lead to additional licensing in the future for mobile gaming as well. coolheadinvestor.blogspot.com/2005/07/gravity-shanda.html
NCTY I was not happy about the previous ownership structure so I was happy to read: biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050707/cnth003.html?.v=3
NCTY has not yet proved much in the way of superior internal game development ability. However with the success of WOW and new internally developed games coming soon it appears as if they will have another chance to build upon the success of a popular game. They did not do so well last time building upon the very successful MU. Lets hope this time they have better execution and move aggressively into mobile games.
LTON, HRAY, WZEN, SINA (perhaps with the help of NC Soft) and others (both public and private) will likely start to devote more resources to the mobile gaming market as it grows. I have a feeling that government regulations will support the local players making partnerships and joint ventures key for American players like JMDT, ERTS, THQI, INSP (and even Korean players like GRVY and WZEN)