Rovio Talks IPO Maybe For 2012

2012 might be the year that Rovio officially goes public. Their game Angry Birds has seen 400 million free and paid downloads since 2009, about three-quarters of which have come in the past half year and is estimated to be worth $1 billion.

“We’re not ready to file for an IPO tomorrow,” said Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio chief marketing officer. “Maybe a year from now. We’re happy with our valuation but we think it’s probably a bit north of that.”

Rovio’s business has expanded to include t-shirts, Halloween costumes, stuffed toys and a cookbook. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of their business is now merchandising.

“We’re insanely profitable,” said Vesterbacka. “We are very, very profitable. We’re not a publicly traded company yet but we can fund our own growth.”

Rumors have swirled over an Angry Birds TV show or movie and Rovio estimates that the game has about 150 million active users. “We think we have a good shot at being the first entertainment brand that has a billion fans — people we can talk to and have a dialog with every day,” said Vesterbacka.

“We’re still building a lot of our infrastructure, our company, our platform, everything,” Vesterbacka said. “There’s a lot of good discipline in having to be ready to go public.”

Rovio may seek another venture-capital round before its IPO. “We’re still building a lot of our infrastructure, our company, our platform, everything,” Vesterbacka said. “There’s a lot of good discipline in having to be ready to go public.”

Vesterbacka noted that Angry Birds is on a 20 year plan, and that the anticipated movie might come as an app. “Disney started as a black and white cartoon about this little mouse,” he said. “Nintendo has been working on Mario for 26 years. Angry Birds is less than two years old.”

Source: Bloomberg

Ngmoco Announces New Marketing Manager

Ngmoco has announced that Michael Staskin has been named the company’s new chief marketing officer. The veteran of Italian gaming and lottery company Sisal SpA and toy company Mattel, and will oversee all marketing duties such as the continuing launch and development of mobile gaming platform Mobage in the West.

“Michael is a world-class marketer who has managed some of the world’s biggest brands on a global scale,” said Ngmoco CEO Neil Young. “His ability to create value for real and virtual goods around the world makes him a remarkable addition to Ngmoco’s executive team. We’re thrilled to welcome him aboard.”

Sony Open To Free-To-Play For PS Vita

Chris Norden, Senior Staff Developer Support Engineer at SCEA has confirmed that all PS Vita releases will be available day and date on PSN with the retail releases. He also confirmed that there will be a 20 megabyte download restriction on the 3G model, similar to smartphones, but there will be no download restriction over Wi-Fi.

When asked about free-to-play games, he responded, “You are free to explore whatever business model you want. You’ll have to talk to your account manager, and say, ‘Here’s my idea, and here’s what I wanna do,’ but yes, you’re allowed to do that.”

Source: Gamasutra

Hulu Off Auction Block

Despite heavy rumors that Hulu was for sale, that is now being denied by the site’s ownership. News Corporation, Providence Equity Partners and The Walt Disney Company, the owners of the service released a statement saying they will not look to sell.

“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success,” the three companies said. “Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.”

When it was announced that the site would be sold in June, there’s been much speculation on who would be looking to buy the site for what money. The outlets who have been interested range from digital and regular TV realms, including Amazon, Yahoo!, Google and Dish Network.

However, despite initial interest in the service, Hulu’s backers have been experimenting with models like putting some content behind a pay wall. As News Corp.’s president, COO and deputy chairman Chase Carey said, “Does it make sense to pursue that path or does it make sense for us to stay in an ownership position and continue to have it driven by content owners ”

Source: AdWeek

PSN October ’11 Attack Unrelated To April ’11 Attack

According to Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley, it is unlikely that the new set of cyber attacks on their servers used the data stolen in an April attack. That’s because the testing of a large amount of sign-in IDs and passwords resulted in a 0.1 percent success rate for the attackers.

“It’s just simple math,” Smedley said. “There was such a small percentage of successes. They were attacking with a large number. Because of that, the math tells us it wasn’t [Sony’s information].”

“We’ve said publicly when we were compromised before that the information is out there and could have been used. That was obviously the first thing we looked at,” he added. “Then we did the mathematical analysis and said, ‘Obviously that’s not what happened.’ I’m not going to say it’s impossible [the info came from Sony]. We just think that’s not the most likely case.”

Source: CVG {link no longer active}

Lady Gaga Gets Injunction Against Moshi Monsters

Moshi Monsters has announced that they will not release The Moshi Dance single on iTunes because of an objection by Lady Gaga. The pop star’s lawyers banned the song over claims that kids might not be able to tell the two characters apart.

“This court ruling is a huge disappointment. It’s pretty obvious that kids will be able to tell the difference between the two characters. The shame is that millions of kids fell in love with Lady Goo Goo’s debut single on YouTube and now won’t be able to enjoy her musical exploits. It was all done in the name of fun and we would have thought that Lady Gaga could have seen the humor behind this parody.”