Outblaze’s Six-Month Foray Into Mobile Games Pays Off With 21M Downloads for Pretty Pet Salon & Other Apps

By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

Hong Kong’s Outblaze has had its hands in cloud computing, MMORPGs and even Hello Kitty since being founded more than a decade ago.

It’s also becoming a player of note in mobile gaming, with its Dream Cortex studio reeling in 21 million downloads. That number, while not eyebrow-raising anymore for the mobile gaming industry, comes after the studio formed about half a year ago.

Outblaze’s Dream Cortex studio is behind Pretty Pet Salon, a casual game that has seen 11 million downloads on Android and iOS. It’s a simple resource management game where players have to manage a salon, earn money and hire employees.

Now with 30 to 40 people working on mobile apps, Outblaze says that division is making a few million U.S. dollars in revenue per month off its collection of nearly 100 iPhone and iPad apps. Yat Siu, the company’s chief executive, wouldn’t get more specific about figures than that. Outblaze is a privately held company with no venture funding.

He says average revenue per user for Pretty Pet Salon is actually higher on Android than it is on iOS. Part of that is probably because the iOS market is far more competitive. The app hovers around the top #200 grossing rank in the U.S. for iOS, but it’s 18th among the top grossing apps on Android. To market the game at launch, Outblaze did some basic incentivized install campaigns, where users can download their apps from other games’ offer walls in exchange for virtual currency. This practice has effectively been banned on iOS, while it still works to an extent on Android.

He said the higher ARPU may also be because the studio has put a lot of resources into ensuring the game works across hundreds of models of Android devices. He says consumers often complain about apps malfunctioning on their Android phones because many developers do quality assurance for only a handful of the most popular devices. So when compatibility is a high priority, users appreciate it. About 20 percent of the studio’s revenue comes from Android at the moment.

“We’ve only been on the Google platform for about a month so it’s hard to give a overall predictions,” Siu said. “But in the mid- to long-term, it’s entirely conceivable that half or more will come from Android.”

The U.S. remains Outblaze’s largest market, contributing half of the company’s mobile app revenue. But two-thirds of the other half comes from Asia.

“The Asian market opportunity should not be overlooked,” he said. “If you want to invest in future, you need to start looking Asia. It is very hyped like the Internet businesses of 1999 and 2000, but 10 years down the road, if you think about market capitalization and revenue opportunity, there is a lot of potential.”