Social Gaming Firm DeNA To Acquire iPhone Developer Ngmoco

By Ishaan . October 12, 2010 . 11:24am


Question: What is DeNA and why is them buying a high-profile Western iPhone development studio for $400 million such a big deal?


Answer: DeNA is the company that operates the digital Mobage Town mobile platform in Japan. Here’s a few of the games that were recently announced for it: Little King’s Story, Monster Hunter Diary Mobile, Persona 3 Social, Shenmue Town. We could go on and on.


The closer DeNA get to becoming a global firm — which is what they hope to accomplish over the next year or two — the better the chances are that a day will come where you won’t have to worry about an awesome game being for Japanese mobile platforms only, and thus, out of your reach.


Speaking with the New York Times, DeNA founder and chief executive, Tomoko Namba, revealed that she believes the largest social games market is on mobile phones and that DeNA would like to capture it and “quickly become the world’s No. 1 mobile gaming platform.”


DeNA hope to give developers worldwide a stable mobile platform to publish their games on as well. In line with this vision, Mobage Town, which could be described as “Facebook meets Xbox Live for mobiles,” will be tuned for both iOS (Apple devices) and Google Android devices in the future. This will be accomplished by combining their Mobage software with Ngmoco’s own mobile social-networking platform, called Plus+, which currently supports both.


“Whether you’re a developer in Japan working on a Mobage, or you’re a developer in the West making apps, you’ll be able to work with us, and your games will be able to move across borders and move across devices,” said Neil Young, founder of Ngmoco.

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  • *reads Twitter widget* Eh heh heh heh… ^_^’ Hmm… It’s to find something to say about this… They already did start trying to enter the global market with the MiniNation network, although I have no idea how popular it is now since I don’t have an Iphone. They’ve also been buying or investing in other U.S. based social gaming websites recently as well. They also tried Facebook, but they found out the hard way that market was too oversaturated, with thousands of new games and apps everyday supposedly, to make a profit. I’m interested in when they’re going to finally decide to bring out Monster Hunter Diary Mobile game and P3:S, if they actually plan on bringing them over to the iPhone and/or Android market.

    I guess I did have plenty to say about this in end. (can’t figure out what emoticon to put at the end here ;) or =) )

    • I actually had a pretty long debate with a friend earlier about whether or not DeNA would succeed. They seem resilient at the very least, and if they can get publishers in Japan that already have games on Mobage Town to back them up, I could see this carving out a nice space for itself.

      Question is, what’s Mobage going to offer that Apple’s GameCenter doesn’t? That was the question he asked. Thinking about it, I’m kind of wondering that myself.

      Since Mobage is going to be combined with Plus+ for the iOS and Android platforms, it won’t be as simple as just moving every Mobage Town game over with a click. Although, it probably is much easier than having to rework your micro-transaction models and everything else for an entirely new platform…

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