Social Gaming Firm DeNA To Acquire iPhone Developer Ngmoco

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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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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.