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Glu Stick to What They Know Best

Glu Mobile had planned to expand onto non-mobile games platforms last year but according to president and CEO Greg Ballard, they delayed their plans in favour of focusing on acquisitions.

“We were actually one of the very first companies to publicly talk about multiple platforms as the vision for the future,” says Ballard in an interview with pocketgamer.co.uk.

“During our public offering, we talked about using some of the money to move into other platforms, and we planned on doing it pretty rapidly last year. Then something happened that took our focus in a different direction.”

Glu’s focus was changed when rival companies MIG and Superscape were potentially up for sale. Glu happily bought both companies but it meant that they were forced to put their cross-platform expansion on hold.

Now that the acquisitions have taken place Glu can focus on the task at hand, but rather than get stuck in to Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, they have spotted the potential for other mobile platforms like Nokia’s N-Gage, Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone.

“We will be a multi-platform company, but for the time being we view the possibilities around the mobile handset as just as exciting, if not more so, than more remote platforms like PSP, DS or Xbox Live,” says Ballard.

“If we had gone off doing DS and PSP titles last year, we might have been less prepared to put some of our resources into these new mobile platforms. And something that we’re aware of is that both Gameloft and EA have built-in retail distribution [for DS and PSP] but we don’t. So for us to get into the DS or PSP business requires a bit of a business manoeuvre, which is something to be cautious about.”

In the meantime, Glu are looking at the potential for gaming on social networks like Facebook or Myspace, but at the moment the publisher is just watching from the side-lines.

“We’re absorbing it, and I would say even that some of us are playing the games ourselves,” says Ballard.

“So we’re watching it, but we’re not at all convinced that there’s even a business model for it yet. But as a way of marketing games it’s pretty interesting, so we’ll probably be doing stuff in that area sometime.”

In related news, Glu’s former European boss Kristian Segerstrale recently started up his own social games firm – Playfish – and took several colleagues with him when he left the publisher.

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