The Japanese mobile social gaming site DeNA will be paying up to $403 million for the Apple iPhone game maker ngmoco and this could be the largest mobile social gaming company in the world.
The story was first reported by TechCrunch but Reuters said the deal will involve $303 million in cash, shares and stock options with an additional $100 million depending on earn outs. This is a major payday for the ngmoco and a sign that being a mobile game maker can be a big business.
The ngmoco company is probably best known for the We Rule game, a Farmville knockoff which hit the iPhoen before Zynga’s version of the game did, but the gaming firm also has a ton of games available for the Apple iPhone and iPad. It also had the ngmoco Plus+ network, which essentially offered everything that Game Center does.
This is not a bad exit for ngmoco, which has only been around for a few years. The DeNA backing means it should continue to pump out Apple iPhone and iPad games and we know that it is also prepping Android games.
The ngmoco story is just the latest success story in mobile gaming, which is a market which has received a strong boost since the introduction of the Apple App Store. Games are often the most-downloaded apps on any smartphone platform and the the Angry Birds game is even being casually mentioned during celebrity interviews.
That’s why Microsoft is making such a big deal out of the Xbox Live integration in its upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform. This will eventually enable users to control their avatars, as well as find multiplayer matches on the go.
Microsoft is betting big on mobile gaming and Electronic Arts has already committed to the platform with four games at launch. The company is also launching its own mobile gaming studio.