Today at market opening, Twitter shares (NYSE:TWTR) dropped once again. Shares were at $60.27, down 5.46 percent compared to Friday’s closing price of $63.75. This nosedive marks the end of the honeymoon between Twitter and the NYSE as many analysts stated that shares are overpriced. Until now, the stock held strong amid those reports, but that seems to be coming to an end.
It is not the first drop as shares were already down 13 percent on Friday, shaving $5 billion off Twitter’s market capitalization. It was a big correction of Thursday’s good performance — on Thursday, shares popped 5 percent for no apparent reason.
Many analysts find that Twitter is an expensive company. With a market cap of $33.6 billion, the company has yet to turn a profit — analysts don’t expect to see any profit before 2015. But this pessimistic trend on the analyst’s side seems to be increasing. On Friday, Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter downgraded Twitter.
According to Bespoke Investment Group, the average price target stands at $44.27, around 37 percent below today’s trading price.
But why is the stock price dropping today? The Twitter IPO was a great sign for the entire tech industry. Private companies saw that the stock market could be friendly again with tech companies — and now, everyone wants to IPO.
When Twitter became a public company on November 7, the company priced its IPO at $26 a share. Shares popped 74 percent on that day. After this very good IPO performance, the stock price has been relatively flat.
Many commented that the IPO was underpriced on purpose to make a big splash on the NYSE. Leaving money on the table was a way to improve the longterm prospects and overall image. Shares are still up around 135 percent compared to the IPO price.
Yet, there was a recent turning point for Twitter shares. When the company introduced retargeted ads in early December, the advertising industry was very enthusiastic. Ads would soon be more relevant thanks to browser cookies and more user information. And shareholders voted with their wallets.
Shares went from $44.95 on December 6 to $73.31 on December 26. It represents a 63.1 percent increase, or a $15.7 billion increase in market capitalization. But it wasn’t sustainable on the long run. This 3-week honeymoon was great while it lasted, but it’s time to come back to reality.
Mobile analytics and ad platform Flurry has released its annual report on the state of app downloads over Christmas for 2013, and as is usually the case, consumers clearly went crazy for apps this year. Unwrapping a new iPad will inevitably prompt a spike in software downloads, but Flurry is finding that spike is starting to diminish year to year.
App downloads broke records yet again for 2013, with an 11 percent improvement over total Christmas Day downloads in 2012. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to past year-over-year increases. Between 2011 and 2012, for instance, download growth on Christmas exploded by 90 percent, while it increased 97 percent during the entire month of December year-over-year. This year, as mentioned, growth was only 11 percent between 2013 and 2012 for the holiday itself, and 25 percent for the month of December.
Flurry interprets this slow down in growth as a sign that the smartphone and tablet markets in developed markets might be reaching a maturation point – they avoid calling it a ‘saturation’ point, but it’s undeniable that that’s a fear many market watchers have had regarding the potential growth ceiling on device sales from leading smartphone and tablet makers in markets where those devices have been selling and selling well for nearly a decade now.
Christmas Day downloads were up 91 percent vs. an average day earlier in the month, Flurry found, so there’s a sizeable bump on the day of gift-giving itself. Still, even that is down vs. previous years. In both 2012 and 2011 there was a more than twofold increase in the number of downloads of apps taking place on Christmas Day vs. other days in the first three weeks of December.
This mild plateauing of downloads isn’t necessarily a sign that smartphone growth is slowing, however. It’s possible that there’s simply less discrepancy between Christmas Day and the rest of the year because people are more used to the concept of app stores, and more likely to buy mobile software throughout the year than on a single day when surrounded by more tech savvy relatives who can guide them through the process. New device activations also still spike on Christmas, however, but it’s a less dramatic increase than in previous years.
It’s still likely worth the effort on the developer side to discount apps and offer sales that last through the holiday period, but the difference in volume between that period and the rest of the year might not justify such dramatic dips in software price anymore. It’ll be interesting to see if this continues, or if there’s a levelling off point where the Christmas app download spike stops decreasing year-over-year.
Keeping cats interested in any one toy for any length of time can be difficult, at least in my experience. Plus, most of them require a lot of manual input on the owner’s part. The Egg is a Kickstarter project that aims to keep things interesting for the cat, and save energy for the owner, with a smart toy that moves on its own and can be programmed via a laptop.
The Egg looks like its namesake, but contained within its plastic enclosure, it holds an offset weight and gearmotor, along with a printed circuit board. The Egg can detect floor type and even obstacles, like a cat’s paw or person’s foot, and rotate its weight using the gearmotor to change direction. The result is a ball that can continuously roll and keep a cat’s interest without any human intervention.
Or, with limited human intervention, I should say. The Egg still needs to be charged up, using a microUSB port on its side, and it can be plugged into a computer to switch it to various interaction modes using a desktop software interface.
Speaking from experience using an iPhone-controlled Sphero robot, this seems like a design that will indeed appeal to furry friends. Egg’s creator Jason O’Mara says that it isn’t designed to withstand the rougher brand of abuse that can come from dogs, however, so limit the Egg to feline pals only. O’Mara is an electrical engineer based in Portland, Oregon who previously worked for electronics industry vet TDK, among others.
Egg has managed to get within spitting distance of its $15,000 Kickstarter funding goal, so it’s highly likely it’ll reach it before long. O’Mara anticipates shipping the first production run by June, 2014, and backers can secure a pre-order for $31. That’s a small price to pay for what could potentially provide eternal enjoyment for your bored domestic animal.
A new report from China’s GPC (link via Google Translate), an industry group for game publishers, shows that China’s video game industry is now worth 83.17 billion RMB (or $13 billion), a 40% increase over the past 12 months (h/t Games In Asia). While the growth is not surprising, the fact that most of that revenue came from PC-based games may be, especially considering the amount of attention that has been focused on the rise of mobile in China.
Most of this year’s revenue, 64.5% or about $8.7 billion, was generated through client-based PC games. Browser games took in a comparatively low $2 billion, while mobile games earned just $1.8 billion. Social games–which many developers depend on to spread the word about their products–earned less than $1 billion. As Games In Asia notes, most browser games can’t be played easily on mobile devices, so these figures mean that PC games made up more than 80% of revenue earned by China’s gaming industry in 2013.
A lot of focus has been placed on the rise of China’s mobile gamers. For example, Tencent gave mobile developers a potentially lucrative outlet when it launched messaging app WeChat’s highly anticipated gaming platform. Several China-focused mobile game companies have also recently picked up significant funding. These include Chukong, one of China’s largest mobile game developers, which recently raised a $50 million Series D led by New Horizon Capital, bringing its total funding to date to an impressive $83 million (its existing investors include GGV Capital, Sequoia Capital’s China fund, Disney’s Steamboat Ventures and Northern light). Another mobile game developer in China that recently received funding is Beijing-based Yodo1, which announced a $11 million round from GGV Capital earlier this month.
Developers are busy figuring out how to cope with the challenges that come with distributing and monetizing mobile games in order to take advantage of China’s rapidly increasing smartphone penetration, and they have good reason to. There are more than 500 million Android and iOS devices in China, according to top analytics firm Umeng, and that number is expected to grow to 800 million next year, and top-grossing Android games can make $5 million to $10 million per month.
Smartphone penetration is growing rapidly in Asia and, as in other markets, most of the time players spend in-app are on games. As a result, many developers have focused on HTML5 to help them develop casual games that can be played on different mobile OSes, as well as figuring out a distribution strategy for China’s highly fragmented app marketplace. Developers shouldn’t ignore PC gamers. But the report from GDC shows that game developers who want to be profitable should consider developing a multi-channel strategy, too.
Another nugget of insight from the report is that even though the list of top developers in China is still dominated by foreign companies like Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Glu, domestic game companies are starting to take a bigger chunk of revenue–$7.8 billion to be exact, or a 30% increase year-over-year.