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Ngmoco's Young: West Currently Poised For Mobile Revolution

Ngmoco's Young: West Currently Poised For Mobile Revolution

March 24, 2011 | By Staff

In Gamasutra's latest feature interview, Neil Young, CEO of Ngmoco, explains the "once-in-a-generation opportunity" currently facing the company.

Last November, Tokyo-based DeNA, which operates the hugely successful Mobage-Town gaming portal on Japanese phones, acquired the San Francisco-based Ngmoco for $400 million.

Young, CEO of Ngmoco, explains that it's because conditions are finally right on the ground to create a Western version of Mobage-Town -- keeping what works and dropping what doesn't. On his view, it's time for a mobile revolution.

"It's kind of like a once-in-a-generation opportunity," Young told Gamasutra.

"There's really an incredible opportunity to build something that feels like a future entertainment network. Something that's as impactful to the digital generation as, say, MTV was to the rock 'n' roll generation, or ESPN was to sports fans, and that's sort of what we're trying to accomplish."

The combination with DeNA is key to this, he says. "And if you could do it, the scale of endeavor that you could create would be, one, very big and two, you just don't get those opportunities very often.

"Things don't converge in such a way that frequently -- I've experienced at least in my life -- where you have the opportunity to do something really, really, really big," he said.

Important changes in the mobile market in the U.S. are what have made it possible, Young says, to build a ground-up version of the service for smartphones in the West.

"I think the conditions on the ground in the West weren't really conducive to making something happen... in Japan, 3G penetration is 98 percent and here it's about 47 percent," he explained. "Well, when Japan crossed the 40 percent threshold, that's when this explosion really happened. So we're crossing that threshold."

The full feature interview with Young, Inciting the Mobile Revolution, is live now on Gamasutra.

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