Vivendi Mobile Games is History

It had been announced previously and now it seems to be confirmed: Vivendi Mobile Games, the mobile games publishing arm of what now is Activision Blizzard, has closed its doors in Europe (after it apparently already did so in the US two weeks ago). 

Background information on any reasons is hard to come by. Inability to control costs is a rumour frequently heard. One might also think that the overriding business outlook of Activision, which has been licensing out its titles pretty successfully to the likes of Hands-On Mobile (Call of Duty 1, 2, 3, True Crime: NYC, True Crime LA, Guitar Hero III an IV) and Glu (Call of Duty 4 and 5) - and perhaps less successfully to the now defunct Infospace Mobile (see here where they ended up) who did or planned to do Tony Hawks et al on the one hand, and the Blizzard unit that has a game on its hands that is awesomely succes
sful but hard to translate to mobile (namely World of Warcraft) did not leave room for a unit that could successfully compete internally. 

Given that Activision's CEO had also announced (transcript of its respective earnings call here)  it would divest/retire a lot of its more casual Sierra unit (because they could not be sequelled on an annual basis; see some analysis here), the demise of VMG might therefore point more to a strategic decision on Activision's side.  

Blackberry's (My)Space

Would you believe it? The marriage of what was seen only a short while ago as the quintessential businessman's phone and the latter's presumed opposite, the music-centric, young, urban web 2.0-type has is complete. I am talking of course of the Blackberry client of social network MySpace: only a week after being released, the two partners, Blackberry maker RIM and MySpace, reported a rather staggering 400,000 downloads of the application and, perhaps even more staggering, 15 million messages sent and received through it, accounting for 2 million status and mood updates (that's an average of 5 for every user).

The stats in themselves are impressive. However, what it does show is that a) Blackberries aren't only for the cold-nosed investment bankers anymore (or maybe those investment bankers now have the time to go off on a social networking frolic of their own) and b) social networks are not only for the wild at heart anymore (or maybe they never were but we only never realized behind those nicknames).

It might only be a footnote in the mobile applications space but it is a noteworthy symbol for those two things: both smartphones and social networks are very much mainstream. The always connected worlds of both smart(er) phones and social networks always were somewhat akin to each other: both grow in value when availability is pretty much always there. So this shows once more the power of the concept of contextual and relevant connection and connectedness.  Hats off!