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Acquisition of iPhone game maker to create largest mobile social games platform

Ngmoco, one of the most popular and successful game developers for Apple's iOS mobile platform, has been gobbled up by Japanese social game developer DeNA for upwards of $400 million in a bid to form the world's largest mobile social games platform company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ngmoco’s shareholders and employees will receive US$300 million in cash and securities and are entitled to additional consideration of up to $100 million, contingent upon the company meeting some undisclosed performance goals by the end of the 2011 calendar year.

“In ngmoco and its team we see a lot of the same talent and dynamic traction that we have in the Japanese market, making the merger a perfect fit for us,” said Tomoko Namba, founder and CEO, DeNA. “This acquisition cements DeNA's leadership position in the U.S. We’re building the largest mobile social gaming platform in the world and populating it with incredible games and services.”

Based in San Francisco with studios in New York and Portland, Ngmoco was founded in 2008 by Electronic Arts executive Neil Young, along with Bob Stevenson, Alan Yu and Joe Keene. In total, it received funding in excess of 40 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Norwest Venture Partners, and others — the former of which is responsible for $400 million iFund to support iPhone developer upstarts.

Renowned for its Rolando game series and Eliminate, ngmoco’s games are played more than 50 million minutes a day and have been downloaded more than 60 million times on Apple’s iOS devices, resulting in 20 top 10 applications. The company’s Plus+ social network also has over 13.5 million registered users, with more than 50 million friend connections and has been installed more than 86 million times.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with DeNA, a company that we have admired and aspired to,” said Young. “The opportunity to be a part of creating the number one social mobile game platform company and to benefit from the unique learning and knowledge that DeNA possesses is an amazing way to accelerate our vision for gaming.”


Rolando for iPhone and iPod touch is amongst Ngmoco's most successful titles.


In September, Ngmoco announced its commitment to expand its offerings to Google's Android platform with games and services set to arrive in the fourth quarter. As a wholly owned subsidiary, ngmoco will be responsible for bringing DeNA’s “X-Device X-Border” strategy to Western markets by making DeNA’s Mobage a global service and platform for games.

Another key focus for the company is the creation of a unified open developer platform that combines ngmoco’s smartphone technology framework with DeNA’s pioneering Mobage Open SDK, allowing developers to target both iOS & Android devices with ease.

DeNA said a developer preview of the new global gaming platform will take place in December with further details to be announced in the near future.

For DeNA, Tuesday's acquisition marks its third in less than two months. The company purchased Mountain View, Calif.-based Gameview, a maker of free-play games, last month in addition to 20 percent share of Aurora Feint Inc., a Burlingame, California-based gaming network with over 29 million users.