Twistbox on the money

Twistbox has announced it has raised a healthy $19.5m from ValueAct Capital (rather secretive firm: you require a user name and password even for accessing the "overview" section of their site) and "other strategic investors". It also announced that former Vodafone Global content supremo Graeme Ferguson has joined its board of directors.

Twistbox was the result of the acquisition of German developer Charismatix (authors of e.g. Anno 1701, Taito's Arkanoid, etc) by (predominantly) mobile adult (which they call "late night") content provider Waat Media from LA (who work with the likes of Private and Vivid)After a lot of buzz around them a while ago (and every year again at 3GSM when everyone gets gibberish over their licensees' parties - no, no scantily-clad girls there worth mentioning, ever...), it had gone a bit quiet. The last we heard was a deal they signed with Fashion TV.

Presumably, the new money and director will get them out into the public eye a bit more again. According to the release, they plan to use the funds to launch web-to-mobile storefronts and play-for-prices games. They also want to push into advertising (but then, who doesn't?).

We all suspect there's money in this "late night" content but little has been seen to quantify the opportunity. Juniper said in 2005 it was $1bn. Forbes didn't quantify in 2006. I have seen analysts who put the share of erotic games to 12% of the total mobile gaming sector, ranking them above racing and arcade games (7% and 5% respectively) but that's somewhat unconfirmed. Moreover, video and pics will presumably be even hotter sellers - if and when they get through the varying publishing thresholds in the different countries (from PG13 in the US all the way to "behind-the-curtain" adult content in some European countries. An overview on various attempts to put a number to that market can be found here (courtesy of adult mobile pioneers, Cherrysauce).

As it will in general still be arguably safe to say that sex probably still sells, we might expect Twistbox to go on to further strengths. Just get your parties up a notch, guys... ;-)

Finally, a note to all you dear readers: this post contains links to adult sites. Do NOT click if you are offended by adult content.


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