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Is Katy Perry the New Kim Kardashian in Mobile Gaming?


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Katy Perry live on stage
International Artists/AlamyGlu Mobile has an exclusive five-year mobile gaming partnership with Katy Perry.
Mobile gamers are a pretty fickle lot. This past summer the public couldn't get enough of Glu Mobile's (GLUU) "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" game, but now they're moving on to the next neat diversion.

Glu Mobile reported what appear to be strong financials results on Wednesday afternoon. Adjusted revenue soared 78 percent to $76.2 million compared to the prior year's fourth quarter. Adjusted earnings per share rose from 7 cents to 11 cents this time around. Glu Mobile's financial performance blew past Wall Street expectations, but the growth doesn't look so hot when compared to its most recent third quarter.

Glu Mobile posted an adjusted profit of 17 cents a share on $83.6 million in revenue during the third quarter. The sequential decline translates into a quick peak for the Kardashian game, which lets players create their own celebrities who interact with the rich and famous as they seek stardom. Even the early October release of "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood 2" didn't seem to spice things up. Yes, it's refreshing to see that revenue didn't fall as hard sequentially as analysts were expecting; some other games helped pick up some of the slack. However, we ultimately have another company showing us that success in mobile gaming doesn't last very long.

Devouring Apps

Having a hot game is a fleeting achievement, and Glu Mobile is just the latest company to see a hot game fade too soon. Zynga (ZNGA) hit the market on the strength of "FarmVille," "Mafia Wars" and "Words With Friends." The stock went public at $10 in late 2011. Bookings peaked in 2012, and it's been largely downhill ever since. The stock has gone on to shed nearly three-quarters of its value. Ouch.

King Digital (KING) went public at $22.50 just 11 months ago. Its flagship game -- "Candy Crush Saga" -- had peaked shortly before its IPO. The stock trades in the low teens now.

Even Glu Mobile has had a wild ride, though the stock seems to have gone nowhere in 2014. It may have started the year at $3.88 and wrapped it up nearly unchanged at $3.90, but it traded as high as $7.60 when the Kardashian game began climbing the app download charts in July.

Investors just keep getting burned, but Glu Mobile hopes that it will be different this time.

You're Gonna Hear Me Roar

Shares of Glu Mobile moved higher after the better-than-expected report, but another important catalyst is that it also announced an exclusive five-year mobile gaming partnership with Katy Perry. Coming off her status-affirming performance at the Super Bowl, Perry's star is burning bright.

Taking the proven Kardashian celebrity simulation and giving it a musical spin seems like a no-brainer, and -- no offense to Kardashian -- Perry likely has more staying power than the reality show star.

Perry will continue to put out albums and tour the world. Kardashian's game was a hit, and a Perry title could be even bigger. Glu Mobile will hopefully learn from the fickle nature of the industry, making sure that it has a steady diet of new releases to keep the Perry franchise fresh. Sooner or later, a mobile gaming company's going to get it right, and that's when it won't be just Perry singing about fireworks.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on the Apple Watch to learn where the real money is to be made for early investors.


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