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DeNA's Ngmoco buyout confirmed - for $403m

Japanese mobile giant picks up US iPhone dev in quest to be "world's number one gaming platform"

Japanese social and mobile game leader DeNA has confirmed its rumoured acquisition of San Francisco iPhone success story Ngmoco.

Up to $403 million will be offered for the studio, as a combination of cash and shares, with the deal approved on Tuesday and expected to close by November 9.

DeNA found huge success with microtransaction-fuelled mobile title Mobage Town, and is now seeking overseas expansion.

"We're only active in the Japanese market, and we haven't figured out how to cover the Western market," DeNA CEO Tomoko Namba told the New York Times.

"We want to enable developers to go cross-device and to go cross-border. And we need this to happen quickly, in about the next one or two years."

The company intended to become "the world's number one mobile gaming platform," she claimed, arguing that the "big tide" in social gaming was only just arriving.

DeNA's domestic presence is enormous, anticipating $1 billion in sales for its current fiscal year - on a par with 2010 revenue estimates for Facebook despite only 5 per cent of the users (at 20.5 million to 500 million).

The Japanese firm plans to merge its Mobage titles with Ngmoco's iOS and Android social networking tech in order to offer a cross-platform framework for third parties.

"Whether you're a developer in Japan working on a Mobage, or you're a developer in the West making apps," said Ngmoco boss Neil Young, "you'll be able to work with us, and your games will be able to move across borders and move across devices."

DeNA also recently acquired Astro Ape and Gameview as part of its international expansion effort.

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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