Ngmoco's Neil Young on why Android is the platform for its drive to be mobile gaming's Facebook

iOS is closed

Ngmoco's Neil Young on why Android is the platform for its drive to be mobile gaming's Facebook

There's one major reason why the launch of ngmoco and DeNA's social network Mobage won't have the same presence on iOS that it will enjoy on Android: it's a platform within a platform.

In essence, Mobage – which combines DeNA's existing Mobage network in Japan with ngmoco's ngCore (including Plus+) – attempts to do much of what iOS already does with Game Center; leaderboards, friends lists and a whole range of community services built into a social network.

The problem is, ngmoco wants to deliver the service cross platform, breaking down the barriers between consumers that Apple's approach, for the sake of consumer retention and control, is designed to preserve.

Open Android

As such, Android has become Mobage's platform of choice in the west, with DeNA's $403 million buyout of ngmoco last year transforming the company from a publisher primarily focus on iOS to an affiliate network that will operate mainly on Google's OS.

"Android is probably the place that we can implement it fully today, or I would say completely," ngmoco CEO Neil Young told VentureBeat.

"That is, we can create one destination application that binds many of these experiences together in conjunction with individual applications that surface on the market place.

"On iOS, you still have a great experience, but your experience is a little less integrated. You can have the individual applications, the actual games. They are the fuel for the ecosystem on iOS. To realise the full potential there, we need to think about user-centric services versus distribution point centric services."

As Young goes on to explain, Apple rules and regulations mean Mobage won't be able to deliver apps in the way it will on Android, with development instead having to focus on linking up players on a social level.

Still, as anyone who knew Young before ngmoco's DeNA purchase will know, he was an Apple enthusiast, with little time for rival platforms. Hence this new attitude is a mark of how quickly Android has evolved, as well as DeNA's positioning in terms of where it can generate cash as a publisher with operations based on IAP.

Following Facebook

It's a situation he can see changing in the future – noting that Apple puts the consumer first most of the time, and that this is still 'early days' broadly speaking for iOS – but, for now, Mobage's grand ambitions will only be truly realised on Android, where ngmoco and DeNA are hoping it will become something of a sensation in the west.

It's already signed a deal to be embedded in all of Samsung's Android smartphones in the west. 

"There is an opportunity to build something that will impact this mobile generation as the way that MTV impacted rock-and-roll fans a generation ago," Young added, going on to compare Mobage to Facebook, rather than Xbox Live.

"It's interactive programming that you know isn't just a solo experience, but a social experience.

"Games and entertainment is a really big piece of what people want to do. And so learning the knowledge from DeNA's implementation in Japan, when combined with our view of the western market, will be a perfect combination."

Developers interesting in utilising Mobage in their releases can find out more on ngmoco's website.

[source: VentureBeat]

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