Glu's Deer Hunter '14 Steals the Top Spot on the Mobile Charts from GTAV

Sep.20.13 | About: Glu Mobile (GLUU)

There has been a lot of hype over the newest release of Take Two's (TTWO) Grand Theft Auto V, and for good reason. The title shattered the previous all time 24 hour sales record of $500 million (previously held by Call of Duty: Black Ops II) raking in $800 million in sales in its first day!

While the traditional console game has grabbed the spotlight, the mobile game has been a blockbuster hit as well. The mobile version of the game has also topped the charts since its release on Monday… until Thursday that is.

Move over Grand Theft Auto V, Deer Hunter 2014 is here! Glu Mobile's (GLUU) latest game Deer Hunter 2014 which was released the day after Grand Theft Auto V, has just taken over the #1 position on the top charts!

Below is a chart taken from AppAnnie.com that shows the rankings and movement of games on various operating systems and platforms. Since iPhone is arguable the most important platform for developers, I have included that chart below.

Click to enlarge
(Click to enlarge)

As you can see, today Deer Hunter 2014 moved from the #2 spot that it reached on its debut day, to the #1 spot today. The game is also moving quickly up the top grossing charts, up 17 spots today to #17, marking the best performing Glu game EVER.

Deer Hunter has been one of Glu Mobile's most successful franchises. The company acquired the intellectual property and rights to the Deer Hunter brand after publishing it for the first time in 2007 in conjunction with Atari. Glu purchased the franchise from Atari, and now owns all of the rights so it no longer has to provide the hefty 50% royalty payments to Atari.

Glu's highest revenue generating game is currently Frontline Commando: D-Day which was released at the end of the first quarter. That will soon change though ... as a quick look at the charts I have provided below will show you how Deer Hunter is shaping up against Glu's current best performing game.

Below are the rankings charts for both Frontline Commando: D-Day and Deer Hunter 2014. The numbers from Frontline Commando are compiled to show its record highs on the charts over the last 6 months. Deer Hunter 2014 statistics are its first two days being live.

Frontline Commando: D-Day- All Time Best Rankings

Frontline Commando: D-Day

Download Rank

Grossing Rank

iPhone Games

#7

#72

iPhone Overall

#11

#85

iPad Games

#3

#39

iPad Overall

#3

#54

Click to enlarge

Deer Hunter 2014: Rankings After 2 Days

Deer Hunter 2014

Download Rank

Grossing Rank

iPhone Games

#1

#11

iPhone Overall

#2

#21

iPad Games

#2

#63

iPad Overall

#2

#88

Click to enlarge

As you can see by the charts, Deer Hunter 2014 is having an incredible launch, and will by far be the best revenue generating game for Glu Mobile. Only time will tell what staying power the game will have, but once the downloads come ... the money follows.

Gluon Technology

Deer Hunter 2014 is a particularly important launch for Glu because it is the first game the company has released built on its proprietary Gluon server technology. This technology allows players to interact with each other, as well as join "Hunting Clubs", in which players can work together to achieve goals and win prizes.

The Gluon Server enables the following:

  • Port Games to various platforms/devices quickly.
  • Provide updates more frequently (improves retention, monetization, and life time value).
  • Update all games simultaneously.
  • Analyze massive amounts of analytics and user metrics
  • Provide games as a service (GaaS) features like leaderboards and chat.
  • Allow all games access to standardized monetization techniques such as TapJoy.

This game will be a good indication of what you can expect out of Glu's future release slate, as all of Glu's games going forward will be built around the technology.

Real Money Tournaments w/ Skillz Partnership

Glu's partnership with Skillz will provide players the opportunity to compete in tournaments and win real money. This will be the first game of its kind and should provide an interesting new aspect to mobile gaming, not to mention a new revenue stream. Though the real money gambling tournaments are not yet available, a tournament based update will be released in the future. This move will allow players to get acquainted with the game, learn to love it, and spend money on traditional in game transactions. I suspect that once the initial appeal subsides a bit, Glu will roll out the tournaments which will bring players back in a frenzy. It will be smart move if done right. Though management has given us little faith in their ability to execute properly on much of anything, this will be one game they will make sure goes off without a hitch.

Northland Securities

The game's performance is grabbing some attention. Northland Securities issued positive remarks on Glu Mobile in its research report Thursday following the strong launch and performance of Deer Hunter 2014. Northland Securities has an Outperform on shares of Glu Mobile, and a $3.50 price target (found here). Analysts will be watching the performance closely and if it is sustained, analysts will start upgrading their ratings on the stock and raising their price targets.

Monetization

Deer Hunter 2014 will set new monetization records for Glu. Deer Hunter 2014 utilizes the TapJoy platform, and it is executed very well in this game. Glu hired Chris Akhavan from TapJoy, and appointed him President of Publishing. He brings vast monetization knowledge and will enable Glu to utilize the platform in the most effective, low cost way.

One of Chris's objectives was to utilize video ads to drive monetization. I personally spent about an hour in the game watching the various 15 second clips available on the platform to earn some free gold! It's so very simple, but GENIUS! I actually even enjoyed the ads that I watched. The advertisements included big name companies like Nerf, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Gilt, and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD). There are even short clips of other mobile games and it gives you the option to download the game after the video ends. Players can even earn large amounts of gold by completing various actions such as booking a Hotel on Hotels.com, or signing up for free trials. This system proves to be a very easy way for a player to obtain gold without spending money, while Glu earns money from the advertisers. The best part is that the whole system is very unobtrusive to the game play, and is only there if you actually go to the purchase section and click Free Gold!

Glu is making a big push with Tapjoy and late Thursday was approved for a Confidential Treatment Order regarding the details of a special arrangement the company made with TapJoy. The details were outlined in Glu's 10-Q filed after earnings in August. It appears that Chris Akhavan was able to make an agreement with Tapjoy, in which Glu will receive Transfer Bonus Credits and a percentage discount on all advertising fees and placements. Though the numbers are confidential and not given, it appears as though this is a very beneficial arrangement for Glu. Thank you Chris for pulling some strings!

Conclusion

As a fan of the game ... if you haven't played it I highly recommend it. I have been addicted to it and I have no idea why. I have never been hunting a day in my life, but I am oddly drawn into the game play. Part of the reason is that it is quick and easy to play, and has this gratifying slow motion bullet shot upon the last kill of a mission. If you ever liked the hunting missions on Oregon Trail, you will love this game. Thankfully I am not alone in my infatuation. In a blog, Mike Fayey wrote about his experience and goes on to say that he too downloaded Grand Theft Auto V and that while the rest of the world is playing that, he cannot seem to put down Deer Hunter 2014!

As an investor ... this game has the potential to be a game changer. The future release on other operating systems, cash tournaments with Skillz, and the AirPlay compatible update that will allow you to play it on the TV, will provide an even larger following of the game. Though Deer Hunter 2014 will only have 13 days to contribute to 3rd quarter earnings, it will still provide a much needed boost the company's figures since it is the first game the company has released since "Zombies Ate My Friends" in July. I look forward to seeing the initial figures and am also now very optimistic about 4th quarter earnings. In the mean time … Happy Hunting!

Disclosure: I am long GLUU. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.