Penny Stocks and Takeovers

Posted by Daeity On Monday, April 10, 2017

Investments

If you know anything about me, you might say that I have an unhealthy obsession with video game companies, particularly their inner workings. I do a significant amount of digging into financials, business practices, employee posts, public boards, talk to industry employees, and listen to chatter from the industry.

I've written a lot about Activision, Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft in the past. But, what you might not know is that I also frequently invest in video game companies. I won't invest in something I don't fully understand however. Investing is like gambling, except you can have an edge simply by doing proactive research. Activision, EA, and Ubisoft.. their futures were fairly certain in the beginning. I've owned stocks in ATVI since they were $10-11, Ubisoft at $5, and EA at around $15. I had invested in Tencent back when they were 50 HKD too, and I've written about them many times in the past due to their relationship with Blizzard.

You won't find me investing in much other than entertainment, gambling, electronics, and gaming companies.

Now one company that I have been following for a VERY LONG TIME is Guillemot Corporation. I was initially interested in them back when they manufactured video cards, but was surprised when they acquired Hercules. Shortly after that time, the company lost a huge amount of value and they've been quiet for several years. These days, they just do a little amount of sales and they own the ThrustMaster line of gaming joysticks. It is a small, but profitable business. But what many people don't know is that this company was the birthplace of Ubisoft, and they acted as the gaming company for a short time, before splitting off and creating the Ubisoft Corporation as a separate entity. If you look back at ancient versions of the Guillemot website, you can see their old game releases.

Takeovers you say..

Back in November, there was some industry chatter about several different movements taking place within the Guillemot Corporate family, especially within the Shanghai Ubisoft management structure. Something big was happening. I suspected that it might have something to do with fears of a hostile takeover by Vivendi. They already snagged the Guillemot family's Gameloft, and many experts believe that Ubisoft is next on their target list. My suspicion is that key employees, and potentially licenses/contracts, are being juggled around companies within the Guillemot sphere of influence in order to protect themselves, or at least create some obstacles, in the event of a hostile takeover.

Guillemot Corporation was really their only other public company under their complete control, so I purchased various stocks at around 1.30 EUR. I think something big is going to happen here, including some assets being moved from other Ubisoft facilities to this one. It's climbed about 0.20 EUR since then, but I honestly think something big is still going to happen in the near future that will drive up public interest and value in their stock. And even more events taking place until the end of the year.

Of course, this could just be Vivendi attempting to drive up the stock price of Ubisoft, before selling it off. They haven't fared too well in the gaming industry, and it's something they should abandon. Nothing increases stock prices more than increasing your stake in a company, spreading rumors and then denying them.

And you mentioned something about "penny stocks"?

But now my attention is on a smaller public gaming company. It's a penny-stock too, something I've never really invested in before. It was a Canadian company called Imperus Technologies Corp., who renamed themselves to 'Tangelo Games' (currently at $0.04) after acquiring Diwip Ltd. out of Israel, and Akamon Entertainment out of Spain. There's really nothing to write home about these companies, they don't create anything too special or unique like the big guys, but they have a lot of experience constantly pumping out small gambling and casino games for mobile devices. And, they are very successful. Currently, the company is very profitable, but they are also massively in debt from previous investments and decisions.

There are two primary players in this company that interest me: James Lanthier (CEO) & Vicenç Martí (previously owned Akamon and was made President of Tangelo).

Vicenç owns another company too, called 'Billy Mobile' that operates in the exact same building as Akamon Entertainment. Interestingly, just a few weeks ago, the offices of Billy Mobile were raided by police in Spain. The operation was related to mobile telephony fraud. =]

From what I dug up however, it's only because of their very aggressive marketing (too many text messages to users who complained.) They'll get off with a slap on the wrist and a small fine. But, that Billy Mobile company he owns looks like it's going to be highly successful. If it was a public company, I would have invested in it by now. I think it's going to make big waves, but only in certain countries where their aggressive strategies are still legal. And, I suspect that Billy Mobile will be utilized by Tangelo Games in the future as well. Billy is Vicenç's baby, the golden son, and where I think most of his efforts are currently being placed. He sees it as a billion-dollar company, and he's not wrong.

Now the CEO of Tangelo, James Lanthier, he's a different creature. His primary passion isn't exactly creating video games, but rather increasing the value of entertainment companies, and then selling them off as a complete package. He's into acquisitions and being acquired. Two men with different drives. From what I see, James has been working on reducing company debt - so I don't think there's going to be any problems here. It's a highly profitable business, really just running on old titles at the moment, that will be able to pay off the debt within a reasonable time frame.

And from the developer stand point, the teams are all still busy and hard at work. They aren't developing new games, but rather porting over all of their existing libraries onto a new platform (Unity) so that it can be supported on new devices. New graphics, new engine, and more devices of simple casino games that have worked. There is currently a hiatus of game releases, however there is going to be a huge rush of titles being released simultaneously at the end of this year.

So, what we have is a hugely undervalued company, with very little investment risk, a flood of titles coming out at the end of this year and early next year, and managers who are driven to make the company valuable enough to be acquired. That sounds like a reasonable investment to me, and if you also want to make some money with little risk, I would advise investing this company at the $0.04 rate or under before the end of 2017.

No, it wasn't an April Fools joke.

Posted by Daeity On Monday, April 3, 2017

On the spur of the moment, I decided to bring the blog back online.

Much has changed within the past five years leading a better level of comfort, I guess you'd say.

For example, the public is much more aware now of the type of internet harassment and intimidation that takes place. And, there are more laws slowly appearing to protect internet users from cyber-bullying. Back when I started, death threats and attacks against female bloggers weren't well known of at all, and the term "misogyny" just started to go mainstream. So at least now it's a known and public issue, making it more difficult for aggressors.

So, what's all happened in the past five years?

  • A handsome rogue leaked confidential NSA information, verifying what most rational thinkers in the world already knew.
  • We were all supposed to die of Ebola according to main stream media.
  • We were all supposed to die of the Zika Virus according to main stream media.
  • The Diablo 3 Real Money Auction House failed.
  • Blizzard pulled off the best Legion marketing stunt ever when they turned the Olympic pools green.
  • Various game developers successfully hyped extremely disappointing games. The gaming media agreed that they would never be fooled again.
  • Project Titan was cancelled, and scavenged to create a successful TF2 clone competitor.
  • All of the big names have left Blizzard.
A little bit about me during the past five years:

I've been doing consulting work with AAA developers and publishers, helping them sky-rocket their wealth. And, I've launched three very successful titles that I designed. Occasionally, I have some free time on my hands, and decided to fire up the old blog. I haven't decided what to write about yet, if I write anything at all, but I thought some old readers would at least appreciate the nostalgia.

If I do write about something, I will try to make it original content. I dislike re-posted garbage, and opinions on trending news items. I can't talk specifics due to non-disclosures, but I may enjoy writing about the gaming industry from a general development or finance side.

I love the work of indie developers, so I can definitely provide some useful advice and strategies that they're currently not aware of. I may even review some indie games who don't know how to market themselves.

Who knows.

I'll try this out with comments disabled. It'll be better if people can't send "messages" to me directly. I've gone back and cleaned up the blog, removed irrelevant posts (e.g. exploits and gold making that no longer apply), and tried to focus it some more. Unfortunately, it looks like some old imgur links have died but I can't do much about that.

Why Things Have Been Quiet

Posted by Daeity On Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tomorrow (04/01), I had something really fun planned from a couple weeks ago that I hinted at to you all. Unfortunately, it appears that the time for fun and games has ended.

On Friday of last week (03/23), I was alerted to a series of significant internet fraud related crimes that were perpetrated in an attempt to shutdown this blog.

Upon learning of the activities, I immediately contacted the appropriate authorities. Based on the evidence provided, the illegal acts were carried out with forethought and willful acts of malice that involved at least one individual. This week, I'm confident I know who the person is and I have been working with various third parties in an ongoing investigation.

Even after requests to cease the activity, the individual (possibly others as evidence points to at least two other persons involved) perpetrated yet another series of criminal attacks this past week. Given the sheer coincidence of the attacks (the dates), the intention of the attacks, and other strange things going on (like odd comments, hoaxes, and users trying to push me or provoke me into doing things), it appears that this has been planned for a very long time and there is some kind of elaborate and more sinister plan still at play that I don't want to be any part of.

This has become a very serious situation, and there have been direct threats made against me. Given the obvious mental instability of this aggressor, the crimes committed, and I've been told that they have access to private and confidential information, there are also concerns (as well as hints already) of violence and other plans of future malice.

For now, upkeep and maintenance of the blog will probably suffer as I need to re-prioritize.

I'm not sure when I'll be back due to these threats, but I'll leave the blog as is for now. I won't be checking/approving comments here, unless they are pertinent to the case, so please refrain from speculation.

I will still try to make some updates if I can. But they might just be for really important discoveries. Due to the automated nature of Blogspot and the constant (and variety of) attacks, if for some reason the blog is temporarily or permanently suspended, it will not be due to any legitimate reasons; it will be purely due to outside events.

Paid Industry Trolls

Posted by Daeity On Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An interesting read on the "confessions" from a former EA Viral Marketer. I caught this yesterday on Reddit too, and just decided at the last minute to write about it.

This is a known job (mostly outsourced and Work At Home) by many in the gaming industry, but most people don't talk about it. There are a lot of job titles and duties that the industry really doesn't like to discuss. :)

It really doesn't matter if this person is a phony or not as what they say about the job is true. I'd really like someone to come along, though, that can provide real evidence of their job and duties and even provide several real world examples of things they've done.

All Andromeda posted, unfortunately, were public Quarterly Shareholders documents that everyone has access to. And they spent very little talking about their job, and more time attacking the company and it's games. It would have been far more convincing if they had provided real documentation from their job (since there would have been a lot of it, and none of which could have been traced back to them.)

That's why I appreciate some of the recent comments made by Brian Fargo, for example, about the real inner-problems that happen between Developers and Publishers that no one knows about. Now, we finally have a recognizable and trusted name providing proof that what many suspected really does happen.

Andromeda's job is basically conducting creative viral marketing on sites and forums (including /v/), praising their employer, and derailing threads or putting down competitors to deflect and control perception about a game.

You never really know who these people are. They spend years creating online identities, and they have multiple identities on several major and minors forums or blogs. A forum poster on MMO-Champion, for example, might have a dozen identities each with hundreds of posts (or one primary account with thousands and a "good reputation"). They're paid to do this 8+ hours per day, so you can only imagine how much time they spend on sites, forums and blogs building up trust and familiarity over several months or years.

It's a pretty easy job too. And there are different kinds of "marketing" responsibilities.

Some of these professional sockpuppets or shills will primarily engage in praising or controlling the perception of a company or it's game. Others, though, might have the task of attacking competitors, talk trash about their games or generate bad press, try to organize mass "uprisings" against certain companies, constantly attack the reputation of someone who is critical of their employer (any attempt to discredit them, including lies), create bad reviews of competing games (mostly targeting crowds to do it for them), or they engage in unethical practices to deplete the marketing and customer support budgets of competitors.

The key though is manipulating crowd psychology. They want as many people on their side as possible to do the most damage, so they're usually highly social (online) individuals within forums and they use sites like Twitter. They also have multiple accounts, so they're hard to distinguish since each account might have different followers. And, the more followers the better. What's also nice is that they can buy the obedience of many followers by handing out free stuff given to them by their employer. :)

It's really hard to spot these shills though. They engage is casual chatter, talk about their day or their family, movies they watch, etc. And, they're hard to distinguish from simple fanboys. Maybe they even act as fanboys as part of their cover. There probably is a detectable pattern, and a way to find these people, but one would need some real and proven examples of posts from their various identities. I'm sure that some of the more talented viral marketing trolls could probably spot each other though.