8 Comments

Summary:

Japanese social platform maker DeNA is snapping up mobile game maker Ngmoco, continuing a run of acquisitions in the social gaming space. The deal reflects the growing interest in social gaming and underscores how important mobile is for gaming as it is for all web services.

01

Japanese social platform maker DeNA is snapping up mobile game maker Ngmoco, in a deal worth up to $403 million. The acquisition reflects the growing interest in social gaming companies and underscores how mobile is the future of social gaming, much like it’s the future for all web services.

Ngmoco, an iFund company funded by Kleiner Perkins, has had a string of hits such as We Rule, Rolando and Topple on the iPhone and is now poised to begin selling apps on Android after a reported investment from Google.

DeNA, which runs a popular social platform called Mobage Town, has bought a number of social gaming companies, including Gameview and AstroApe and also invested in Aurora Feint. The company is looking to compete with Facebook game maker Zynga, which is branching out into mobile, and companies like Disney, which recently bought Tap Tap Revenge maker Tapulous and social game maker Playdom in July. Google has also gotten into the act, buying SocialDeck in August.

The bet is that social gaming is moving to mobile phones, which, while small compared to Facebook, potentially has a larger audience as more people buy smartphones. PopCap Games recently shared that 25 percent of its revenues now come from mobile titles. Other non-gaming companies built on the web are finding success branching out their models to mobile, like OpenTable, which is increasingly booking reservations via its mobile app.

It makes sense as social games on Facebook have continued to struggle, with 16 of the top 25 games losing users in September. The latest figures continue a slide that began earlier this spring, coinciding with the rule changes by Facebook removing third-party notifications.

Shifting to mobile not only frees game developers from their dependency on the dominant social network, but allows them to build games that are more personal, reaching players wherever they are. With the rise of app stores like Apple’s App Store  and Android Market, game makers also have a reliable way to distribute their games and monetize them. As games follow the rest of the web to mobile devices, the opportunities to make them more context- and location-aware will also make them more interesting and perhaps, more profitable.

Related research from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Game And Gaming is everything these days as more programmers and companies try to get into this market on PC and Mobiles even a lot of their games was cracked by bad boys but also the high spread speed will cover that.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Check out PONGR’s new picture-texting mobile game. We leverage MMS/pic-texting and then heavy mobile browser component. Just launched a week or so ago.

    @DonnyChu

  3. Uken Games Lets You Take Your Game With You: Tech News « Friday, October 15, 2010

    [...] that when you shift from PC to phone, you can pick up right where you left off. And with deals like DeNA picking up Ngmoco for $400 million, it’s clear that mobile gaming is heating [...]

  4. EA Lands Angry Birds Publisher Chillingo: Tech News « Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    [...] rumored in a report from All Things Digital, comes a week after Japanese social platform maker DeNA bought mobile social game maker Ngmoco for about $400 million. It also extends EA’s move into more social and mobile games, which [...]

  5. Intel Bets on Mobile Social Gaming with Aurora Feint Investment: Tech News « Thursday, October 21, 2010

    [...] is the latest big development in the mobile gaming space, following the $400 million acquisition of game developer and publisher Ngmoco by Japanese social platform DeNA and EA’s purchase Wednesday of mobile British game publisher [...]

  6. ZeptoLabs’s Cut the Rope Game Zooms to the Top: Tech News « Thursday, October 21, 2010

    [...] Arts on Wednesday for a rumored $20 million, and last week, Japanese social gaming platform DeNA bought mobile game maker Ngmoco for $400 million. Voinov said the moves reflect how big mobile games have become, and he said the EA acquisition may [...]

  7. Kleiner Perkins: $250M for Social Startups (and Its Own Relevance): Tech News « Thursday, October 21, 2010

    [...] of the VC firm’s $200 million iFund for iOS companies, which has had recent success like the $400 million purchase of portfolio company [...]

  8. McGuire’s Law » Blog Archive » Observations: Uncategorized – October 23, 2010 Saturday, October 23, 2010

    [...] The Future of Social Games is Mobile [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post