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Ngmoco: "At the end of the day we'll be slugging it out with Zynga"

Dependence on brands is "the mistake a lot of incumbents make" - Young

Ngmoco boss Neil Young has cast more light on the scale of plans to bring mobile social platform Mobage to the West.

The network, created by new ngmoco owner DeNA, is enormous in Japan, with the two firms now intending to create a cross-platform version for Western smartphones.

Young told in an interview published today that "There's an opportunity, I think, over time to basically build a game service that is almost device-independent."

Mobage was not intended to be purely a network for current mobile devices. "Phones, tablets, televisions..."

Young observed that the planned global scale of Mobage meant that its major competition may not be rival mobile companies. "I think at the end of the day probably we'll be slugging it out with Zynga.

"Basically that's what it's going to boil down - Neil and [Zynga boss] Mark Pincus in a ring."

"They're formidable competitors. We have a lot of respect for them, and they've built an incredible company, so we'll see. Maybe we can all just make nice and have our games on each other's platforms."

Young confirmed that ngmoco would "be open to" Zynga games appearing on Mobage, and claimed that Pincus was "a great guy, despite what you've read about him in the press."

One battle ngmoco was less interested in fighting was that of brands. While other social/mobile companies such as Playfish and Enteraction have publicly claimed recognisable IPs may be key to success, Young claimed "That's nonsense. Of course you can do games without brands. We have a lot of successful games that don't have brands.

"That's the mistake that a lot of incumbents in traditional media and traditional games makes - the power of their brand is the thing that's going to lift them above the competition. Actually, I think it's about the relationship with the customer.

"The intellectual property that is the most valuable is that relationship. I think brands will come to the networks that have the most relationships with customers."

For the full interview with Neil Young, in which he also discusses the importance of game firms being able to pivot rapidly, the DeNA anti-monopoly lawsuit and how to make Mobage work on iOS and Android, please click here.

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Alec Meer avatar
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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