DeNA and the company it acquired, ngmoco:), are gearing up for the global launch of their Android-focused mobile gaming platform Mobage with a few proven hits in tow. The company said this week it’s bringing Playforge’s Zombie Farm, which has had 16 million downloads to date on iOS, and NimbleBit’s Pocket Frogs, with 7.5 million downloads, to Android.
While other mobile social gaming networks like OpenFeint and Apple’s homegrown Game Center have established a strong presence on iOS, Android is still relatively untapped.
DeNA needs big-name titles to anchor its network, attract other developers and compete with rivals like OpenFeint and Asia’s PapayaMobile, which is exclusively focused on Android. Unlike iOS where Apple controls in-app payments, there may be more revenue opportunities on Android which has several app stores and doesn’t enforce exclusive use of its preferred single payment system Google Checkout.
The Mobage network also includes basic social functions like leaderboards, achievements and user-to-user challenges. Then there are additional features like a shared currency (which wouldn’t be able to exist on iOS because of the platform’s rules), a virtual goods bank system and a payments API. DeNA opened a Sandbox development environment earlier the month, allowing developers to test their games on the Mobage platform.
Like OpenFeint’s recent acquirer GREE, DeNA is looking for growth opportunities outside of Japan. After years of pioneering and refining the business of simultaneously being both a game publisher and a platform in Japan, it’s trying to take this model overseas. The company bought an San Francisco-based ngmoco:) last fall for $403 million, $100 million of which was tied to an earnout.