We have known for a long time that the iPhone was far beyond just just a viable gaming platform, it was the future. One of the biggest examples of that to date has gone down this morning, with Ngmoco announcing their purchase by Japanese gaming company DeNA for a staggering 400 million dollars.
Ngmoco, best known for their early successes like the critically acclaimed Rolando, has recently embraced the social gaming space, releasing games such as their “We” series including We Rule, We City and We Farm. While these were viewed as a departure from some of their back catalog, they were more appealing to an organization like DeNA, which has made their fortune developing social games focused on a Japanese market.
Though DeNA does very little business in the west, the New York Times reports that the company managed to rake in $640 million in 2009 alone and are (without this recent acquisition considered in the equation) on pace to earn a projected $1.5 billion in 2014. Their big hit, Mobage Town, is a traditional social networking structure that earns most of its income from clothing and accessory purchases for in-game avatars. Plus, as a point of comparison, it is also reported that compared to Facebook’s 500 million user accounts, DeNA paltry 20.5 million accounts record an amazing 25-to-1 return on income per user.
It is being reported by Mobile-ent.biz that plans are in place for DeNA to integrate Mobage Town into Ngmoco’s Plus+ community, to further expand the reach of their empire into the mobile space. This now pits the companies head to head with US-based Zynga and their numerous Facebook and recently expanded portable social gaming presence.
Once again speaking with the New York Times, CEO of DeNA, Tomoko Namba was quoted as saying:
“We’re only active in the Japanese market, and we haven’t figured out how to cover the Western market. 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.”
If expansions into western markets is the aim of this acquisition, this may be a great chance to finally see that be successful to its full potential. Plus, when you consider that Ngmoco’s Plus+ platform recently expanded to the Android as well, DeNA is now primed to be accessible on virtually every modern handset available in North America. Now the question remains what will be left of Ngmoco after this take-over is complete? We just hope that they will be able to keep making the games that we have grown to know and love.
Most importantly, this monumental purchase validates the assertion that there is quite a bit of money to be made in the iOS development world. We are no longer the minor leagues of game development, because with money like that being thrown around, soon everyone is going to want a piece of the action.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
We Farm is good for what it is, but leaves me longing for some kind of hell-raising carnage. Just give me one bomb drop... PLEASE!Read The Full Review »
Ngmoco’s latest entry into the freemium app craze, We Farm, is now available worldwide in the App Store. Like their other freemium hit, We Rule, “We Farm lets you cultivate, customize and control your very own virtual farm”, but it’s set in a farm instead of a medieval land.
Instead of dealing with just crops and the like, We Farm puts more emphasis on the management of livestock, which I’ve heard includes beasts and monkeys. Don’t fret though, it’ll still have all the great growing and trading that went on in We Rule, as well as some “mojo”-like stuff that you can buy in the app called “gro”.
Hopefully, for Ngmoco’s sake, people won’t be sick of farming games. With the release of Farmville not so long ago, as well as the existence of their other farm game, We Rule, it seems that there are only so many farms that farming fans can take care of.
Pick it up for free in the App Store today and start growing!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-07-29 :: Category: Games :: Adventure
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-07-29 :: Category: Games :: Strategy
Farmville has only just appeared on the iPhone, and ngmoco is already testing the waters with their own farming sim, We Farm. If you thought We Rule was the developer’s answer to the Facebook farming phenomenon, you were only half right.
Everything about We Farm should be immediately familiar to We Rule fans; from the plot of land you are originally assigned, to the farms (called gardens) you have to maintain, to the Gro (think Mojo) you have to purchase to speed up various processes, there is little initial difference between the two games.
The differences become more apparent as you play through the tutorial which quickly progresses you to a level 6 farmer. Building a coop allows you to raise chickens (and later ducks and, I assume, other fowl as you progress in the game) which you must pet to keep happy. This latter innovation brings a simple type of Tamagochi pet management to We Farm, but it remains to be seen if this is developed at later levels in the game. I’m currently building some of the other farm areas available during the early stages in the game, so it remains to be seen what other new features We Farm will surprise me with.
The overall presentation of We Farm is, if you can believe it, even more cartoonish and exaggerated than We Rule, and the sound effects and music complement this approach perfectly, with frequent interludes of hayseed, down home banjos and harmonicas. It definitely has its charms, but will fans of We Rule want to build a similar mini-society in a similar way? The two games are very much alike.
We Farm is currently available in Canada. Look for it to hit the US iTunes store soon.
We got a chance to stop in ay the new office of ngmoco:) recently for a quick rundown on some of their upcoming apps. As you may remember, they made a business switch recently and are moving completely to the free to play model where the games are free to download and play, but have some form of in-app purchases to give you a better experience. Their latest creations all fall into that model and include a spin-off from Touch Pets Dogs, Eliminate, and two from We Rule.
First up is ngmoco:)’s answer to Farmville. Built from the We Rule engine, this game will look familiar to those of you who have played We Rule. But this time around the focus is on farming. Both raising crops (like in We Rule), and raising livestock are the prime methods to earning in-game cash. To keep things a little friendlier though, animals are never sent off to slaughter. Instead, after raising them they are sent to be judged.
Next up, also built on the We Rule engine, We City. While We Farm is fairly similar to We Rule, this one changes things up a little bit. Instead of building a farm/kingdom, you are building a city. Think of this is a very simplified, friendly and social version of SimCity.
In both We City and We Farm, you can visit your friends creations and interact by purchasing services and goods from them, much like in We Rule. It should be noted that ngmoco:) have made the odd decision to have each individual game, even though they are very similar and are targeting a similar audience, have their own unique version of We Rule’s mojo. Players would, I’m sure, greatly appreciate a common in-game bonus currency so that if you excel in one game you can speed up another. But alas, this is not to be.
Touch Pets Cats
Touch Pets Cats is the answer to Touch Pets Dogs for you feline lovers. Similar game, but there are a few small changes in how it’s played. For one, since cats generally stay inside, the whole experience is indoors. You have the option to decorate your living space with earned and purchasable items and furniture.
The Next Version of Eliminate
By far the most interesting title we saw was the next version of Eliminate. Currently without a final title, this version will be set in the current time instead of the future — think US military fighting in the middle east. Much like Eliminate, it’s multiplayer over the Internet and works butter smooth. The game itself reminded me very much of Counterstrike and had some really good action. No images of the game yet, but keep an eye out for full details.