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ngmoco's Alan Yu

Creating a solution to discovery and monetisation in the Android market
GamesIndustry.biz Would you like to see a show like E3 coming around to that idea, and giving mobile, social, and these new spaces a representative share of the limelight?
Alan Yu

I certainly hope so. I don't have any grand insight on what they're doing, but I think it would be illustrative of where the industry is today and how much change there is going on. And again, change is healthy, change is good. It makes people adapt, keeps them intellectually honest, keeps them creatively fresh.

GamesIndustry.biz Going back to HandCircus, they gave a talk yesterday where it was mentioned that they were moving towards PS Vita because they feel it has become too difficult to get noticed working on iOS due to the sheer volume of games and developers.
Alan Yu

Well, that's certainly an issue, and that's what we're trying to do with the Mobage partners programme - give developers access to a high quality audience, and bring that audience high quality games, whether they are ours or those of our third-party partners. The games won't just be in there with everyone else.

GamesIndustry.biz Does quality breed success in the marketplace in this area?
Alan Yu

Absolutely. Quality will always be recognised. Do I think we need better discovery tools in the space? Absolutely. Mobage is our attempt to try and do that.

Do I think we need better discovery tools in the space? Absolutely. Mobage is our attempt to try and do that

Alan Yu, ngmoco
GamesIndustry.biz Does Apple need to step up and take some of that responsibility too? Should it be up to third-parties?
Alan Yu

I believe Apple when they say they are protecting the user experience. I wholeheartedly believe it when they say they are going to do that. In the end, every game maker and business person has to take responsibility for how they get their game noticed, how they're going to make sure it reaches the market in the way that they want, and I think it's a bit unfair to put it all on Apple.

GamesIndustry.biz Another issue widely discussed at Develop is monetising Android, which doesn't quite offer developers the same ease of turning a profit. What's being done there?
Alan Yu

Going back to Mobage, that's what we want it to be: the button that you press when you want mobile-social entertainment. Obviously, other people are going to things to change the ecosystem for the better, too, but it's still fairly early days, and you can't ignore the sheer size that Android has now and will have in the future. It's basically the size of the market, right? Our bet is that Mobage will be the consumers brand that people can go to to discover these games.

GamesIndustry.biz ngmoco was acquired last year by DeNA, who wanted to expand their operation into the West. Has that been successful so far?
Alan Yu

It's going really well. We share the same vision as DeNA - this cross-border, cross-device network. Right now it's in a limited field test in Canada [Note: Mobage was launched in all English-speaking territories yesterday], and it will release soon after we work out a few things. That's an exciting prospect for us, and there's so much we can learn from a company like DeNA.

We're working very well together. It's very collaborative. They're not like a typical Japanese company. They're quite entrepreneurial. They have a really great image they use: there's a sphere, the DeNA sphere, and no matter how big or small your piece of the sphere is, it is your piece, you are the piece that's showing to the rest of the world. There's nobody behind you. You have to represent that piece, because if you don't it's like a hole in the planet. I find that a really interesting metaphor for how they work.

GamesIndustry.biz Has the relationship changed the way ngmoco operate, or was it purely additive for DeNA?
Alan Yu

It's both. You can't help but learn a a lot of things from a company that big and that successful, but they also know that for DeNA to be a global company it needs to recognise other viewpoints. We, ngmoco, DeNA International, or whatever you want to call it, are in charge of 190 of the world's 192 countries, so basically everything outside of Japan and China. It's a very, very interesting time, and there's a lot of work to do.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.

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