It was in January 2008 that Mob Wars was launched on Facebook by David Maestri. However, at the time of launch, Maestri was employed by Freewebs, the parent company that spun out SGN. Of course, the game became incredibly popular and has been rumored to generate over $1 million in monthly revenue, but since Maestri was employed by SGN at the time of the game’s development, ownership over the game’s IP came into question. Long story short, SGN and Maestri arrived at a settlement in December that granted Maestri the rights to Mob Wars, while SGN received an undisclosed financial settlement and the rights to produce new Mob Wars style games and applications.
With that saga behind it, SGN has just launched a new mob-based title called Mafia: Respect and Retaliation for the iPhone. Similar to the others of its genre, Mafia:R&R is a text-based RPG in which players rise through the ranks of the mob. Players fight, do jobs, purchase items, and can perform a variety of other tasks and challengesas you’d expect in any solid RPG.
However, Mafia:R&R’s game mechanic contains several new elements compared to others in the genre. One of the most unique features is SGN’s use of the iPhone’s built in accelerometer to allow players to do things like train in a virtual shooting range. In addition, players don’t actually have to have an active network connection to play, but can play offline if they so choose.
The game certainly looks pretty good, and it’s free to download from the app store. However, Mafia:R&R is also SGN’s first foray into “freemium” on the iPhone. Players can purchase items (ranging in price 99 cents to $50) to progress through the game more quickly.
Considering the growing popularity of this genre, the title could certainly become another hit for SGN. So far today, the company has an installed base of 9 million players on the iPhone and iPod Touch, including 5 million uniques on its iBowl title alone, as the company continues to pursue its live gaming strategy. We’ll be tracking Mafia:R&R in the coming months.