DeNA Launches Social Game Network on Android Worldwide

Looking to build a very large mobile game network, Japan-based DeNA has launched Mobage (pronounced mo-bah-gay), a new platform for Android devices in all English-speaking countries around the world.

In Japan, DeNA is known for its mobile-only social network called Mobage-town, which runs on lower-end feature phones and makes money selling virtual goods within its network of games.

With this launch, which was carried out through its acquisition of San Francisco-based Ngmoco, DeNA will now expand into the U.S. and transition the company from operating a feature-phone platform to a smartphone platform.

The idea behind the platform is that it will give players with common interests from around the world a place to meet up to play games — similar to Facebook, where you play games with friends from anywhere.

“Mobage’s release outside of Japan marks the next step in our company’s global expansion,” said Neil Young, Ngmoco’s CEO and DeNA’s Executive Officer. “We’re tremendously excited about the potential for the platform, both as a great way for players to experience the very best games and for developers to access a global audience easily and effectively.”

The launch of Mobage, which is available now for download on Android Market, has been expected since DeNA purchased Ngmoco for $400 million late last year.

Out of the gate it will have about 20 games, including Zombie Farm from the Playforge, Pocket God by Bolt Creative, Haypi Kingdom from Haypi Co., Pocket Frogs by NimbleBit, Paper Toss by Backflip Studios, Touch Hockey from FlipSide5 and Zoo World by RockYou.

In addition, DeNA claims to have more than 100 game titles in development.

For developers, it offers an advertising network and a way for users to purchase virtual currency within the free-to-play games.

In Japan, Mobage already has more than 30 million players.

OpenFeint, another mobile social network that was purchased by Japanese-based Gree, already claims to have 100 million users worldwide.

Here’s a video with Young, who, back in January, described his very ambitious goals for Mobage, which included having the potential to be as meaningful to today’s generation as MTV was to the rock ’n’ roll era.


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