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Japan's DeNA Acquires Mobile Game Maker Ngmoco

Ngmoco will bring DeNA's Mobage social games platform to iPhone and Android smartphones in the United States.
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DeNA, a Japanese social game maker, is buying iPhone game maker Ngmoco for $400 million, expanding DeNA's global footprint in mobile gaming.

DeNA said Tuesday the purchase creates the "world's largest mobile social games platform." The company is paying $300 million in cash and securities for San Francisco-based Ngmoco, and has agreed to pay an additional $100 million if Ngmoco meets performance goals through Dec. 31, 2011.

As a wholly owned subsidiary, Ngmoco will be responsible for bring DeNA's Mobage social games platform to iPhone and Android smartphones in the United States and other countries outside of Japan. Ngmoco said in September that it would build Android versions of its most popular games, including Freeverse, Miraphonic and Stump Town. Eventually, Ngmoco's and DeNA's games will run on the single Mobage platform.

"In Ngmoco and its team, we see a lot of the same talent and dynamic traction that we have in the Japanese market, making the merger a perfect fit for us," Tomoko Namba, founder and chief executive of DeNA, said in a statement.

Ngmoco's social gaming network has more than 13.5 million registered users.

Ngmoco is the third deal involving DeNA and a U.S. company, according to the Bloomberg financial news agency. In September, DeNA bought mobile game-maker Gameview. Earlier this month, it purchased 20% of gaming network Aurora Feint, which claims to have more than 29 million users. As processing power and screen resolution increases, smartphones are challenging traditional video-game consoles in the casual gaming market. As a result, consolidation is ongoing in the mobile gaming industry.

For example, Walt Disney Co. in July acquired iPhone game developer Tapulous, which has become a part of Disney's Interactive Media Group. Financial details were not disclosed.

In August, social game developer Zynga acquired Unoh, a Japanese developer of social games, for an undisclosed amount. Zynga is the creator of the most popular games on Facebook, including Mafia Wars and Farmville.

Games are the most popular downloads from mobile application stores provided by Apple and makers of Android handsets. Revenue from such online stores is expected to reach $6.8 billion worldwide this year, compared to $4.2 billion last year, according to Gartner.

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