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ngmoco to launch Mobage mobile game network

By Phil Elliott

Wed 24 Nov 2010 8:45am GMT / 3:45am EST / 12:45am PST

Service will mirror DeNA's hugely successful Mobage-town platform in Japan

ngmoco is to launch a social games network, called Mobage, which will host apps that users will be able to play on either iPhone or Android platforms.

The move is the logical next step since the company's acquisition by DeNA, with the parent business seeing strong success with its blueprint network, Mobage-town, in Japan.

That service has 20 million users and has helped the firm to be on track for $1 billion in revenues this fiscal year.

It will face competition from Apple's own already-launched service, the Game Center, as well as Facebook's planned expansion of smartphone functionality - although ngmoco CEO Neil Young sees a clear difference between Mobage and the massively popular social network.

"Sometimes you don't want your friends and family knowing that you're playing these games every day," he told CNN. "It's hard for people in the West to get their heads around how big it is in Japan. What's happening in Japan is really a blueprint for what's going to happen here.

"Our vision with how to go forward with ngmoco is exactly what [DeNA CEO] Namba-san's vision was," he added.

Ultimately, he noted, the ambition was to "globalise what DeNA has been able to do in Japan," when the service goes live next year.

A sign-up page for the Mobage beta is already live on the ngmoco website, although at present it isn't clear if the platform will launch in territories outside of the US to begin with.

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