Eight months ago, Niccolo de Masi took over the helm at Glu Mobile (NSDQ: GLUU) — and just now — we are about to see the results of his labor. Over the next few weeks, the company plans to give a sneak peak of five dramatically different kinds of games that are set to officially launch in the fourth quarter. The titles represent a huge shift for the San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which failed to keep up with the times when it remained focused on low-end phones and carrier distribution instead of smartphones and alternate sales channels.
In an interview, De Masi walked us through the changes he’s implemented and gave us a glimpse of the five titles coming later this year. Excerpts from the conversation after the jump…
The plan: Glu will launch five new game titles in the fourth quarter, which de Masi describes as persistent (more on that definition later). The games will support a handful of smartphones, including iPhone, Android, Windows and HP (NYSE: HPQ) (Palm), to reach a large user base. Four of the titles are original IP and one is licensed. Next year, it expects to ramp up production and release 25 to 35 titles annually.
What is persistent?: Glu is shifting away from the old model of making IP-based games, and then porting the titles to as many feature phones as possible. Now it’s moving towards social gaming, or what de Masi calls “persistent gaming.” Think Zynga on Facebook. Users will be able to invite their friends to play both with and against them (regardless of what OS or carrier they use), and all of the games will be tied together to form a community. They will be free and monetized through virtual goods, advertising, etc. De Masi: “We want to build a Glu audience of gamers. We aren