Any doubt that there is big money in iPhone games was dispelled today. That's when Japanese social gaming giant DeNA announced it was buying San Francisco-based developer Ngmoco for $300 million in cash and securities. Under the terms of the deal, Ngmoco shareholders will be entitled to up to another $100 million should the company hit unspecified performance targets by the end of 2011.
Ngmoco was founded in 2008 by several game-industry veterans, including ex-EALA and current Ngmoco CEO Neil Young. Last June, the company hired away Sega of America president Simon Jeffery to be its president. Its games, which it claims are played 50 million minutes per day, include the casual titles GodFinger and We City. The company also claims to have had over 60 million downloads from its game portfolio, which has 20 titles that have made the App Store's top 10 list.
Ngmoco also claims to have over 13.5 million registered users on its Plus+ social network, which DeNA will be seeking to leverage. The company is aiming to use its new subsidiary to bring its popular Mobage mobile gaming platform to Western audiences. DeNA announced it is hoping to combine Mobage and Ngmoco's smartphone tools into a single standard, the Unifed Mobage Smartphone Platform, for both iOS and Android devices.