DeNA swoops for ngmoco in $403 million deal

Japanese giant looks to ride the social gaming wave

DeNA swoops for ngmoco in $403 million deal

In a move that acts as another marker in the growth of social gaming and one of the largest buyouts in mobile gaming history, Japanese giant DeNA has confirmed that its acquired publisher ngmoco in a deal that could be worth up to $403 million.

It's a purchase that was touted by TechCrunch at the end of last week, with the website having alleged DeNA's attempts to woo ngmoco had followed a failed attempt by rival Zynga to take control of the company earlier in the year.

"The big tide in social gaming is coming, right now," DeNA founder and chief executive Tomoko Namba told the New York Times.

"We'd like to capture it and quickly become the world's number one mobile gaming platform."

Going west

Namba makes no apologies for the strategy behind the deal for ngmoco, with DeNA having apparently struggled to make a mark outside of Japan – despite numerous previous purchases of western based developers.

"We're only active in the Japanese market, and we haven't figured out how to cover the western market. We want to enable developers to go cross device and to go cross border. And we need this to happen quickly, in about one or two years."

As such, DeNA says it will merge elements of its own Mobage Town mobile social gaming platform in Japan with ngmoco's Plus+ network on iPhone and Android.

Social strategy

DeNA had previously launched its own platform on iOS – called MiniNation – and the company has a 20 percent stake in Aurora Feint's online network OpenFeint.
However, it appears its attention will now switch to fuelling the growth of Plus+ - a transition ngmoco founder Neil Young says will benefit the entire development community.

"Whether you're a developer in Japan working on 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 across devices," said Young.

Moving up the food chain

DeNA's buyout marks the end of an expansive period in ngmoco's short history.

Back in August, the publisher received $5 million in funding from Google Ventures – a deal that was followed by the announcement that the studio would begin working on Android.

Ngmoco has also made purchases of its own, having acquired Stumpdown in May and Freeverse in February.

[source: The New York Times]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.