INTERVIEW-Gameloft looks to app stores, TV for growth -- CEO

Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:59pm EDT

* Sees growth in new Amazon AppStore, Android

* Video games on TV to expand starting in 2012 - CFO

* Company to gain as social games go mobile - CEO

By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) - Gameloft SA (GLFT.PA), a French video game publisher, sees its growth coming from the just-launched Amazon AppStore and from games played on televisions without consoles, the top executive told Reuters.

After riding the wave of Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) products by making games for iPhones and iPads, Gameloft is now turning to Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O) new store to boost sales on Google's Android software platform. [ID:nN22261749])

Gameloft Chief Executive Michel Guillemot said Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, where consumers are comfortable using their credit cards to pay for everything from toasters to online movies, provides the perfect platform for mobile games.

"The Amazon ecosystem is controlled where we don't find too many pirated version of our games or malware games, so for the consumers, it will be a safer place to come and get applications," Guillemot said in an interview.

Games for mobile phones that are cheaper to make and purchase, such as Rovio's Angry Birds, are one of the few bright spots in the beaten down global video game business and has started to eat into the profits of companies such as Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O).

The market for mobile games is expected to grow to $11.4 billion by 2014, according to research firm Gartner.

Gameloft, founded in 2000, is one of the few publicly traded companies that makes most of its revenue from the fast growing mobile market. Some 95 percent of its revenue comes from mobile games, the company said. The company generated revenue of $199 million last year.

TV GAMES

Cheaper games designed for non-hardcore gamers to be played on home TV sets are also seen as a major growth contributor for Gameloft.

Gameloft Chief Financial Officer Alexandre de Rochefort said in an interview that these TV games will be important to revenue growth starting in 2012.

Panasonic Corp (6752.T) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) havefeatured the company's games on their new connected TVs.

"Connected TVs and a consolidated Android store should be a significant benefit to Gameloft's growth story," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Ed Williams.

Gameloft shares have gained 40 percent over the past 12 months. Twenty-two percent of its revenue in 2010 was from Apple products, but CFO de Rochefort said sales on the Android platform could one day match revenue from Apple devices. He declined to give a time frame.

Gameloft said many of its games will also be carried in Nintendo's upcoming 3DS e-shop, a new digital store Nintendo is launching for users to download content for its 3D capable handheld device.

While it focuses on mobile games, the company is trying to expand into social games, with "Green Farm," a game similar to Zynga's FarmVille, which it said was profitable.

Zynga, the leader in social games, has been migrating its social games to smart phones and tablets. Gameloft said it has an edge because of its 10 years of mobile games experience.

"The good news is that social games are planning to get to the mobile space over the next few years. We know this mobile space very well and we'll be able to leverage it," Guillemot added.

(Editing by Kenneth Li; editing by Andre Grenon)

((liana.baker@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6179)) Keywords: GAMELOFT/

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