The news broke yesterday and it has shaken app developers from their seats. iPhone exclusive developer Ngmoco acquired Freeverse. The news followed four days after the startup announced that cancelled the development of Rolando 3
Ngmoco is known for their well crafted games, innovation and push to the AppStore economy. This are the guys behind the seconds iPhone gaming network, Plus+ and the pioneers of the freemium model in games. I've been always satisfied with ngmoco's titles, except Star Defense, and a bit annoyed with the AppStore flooding with "reward points" apps.
TechCrunch reported on Monday:
Neil Young, the CEO of iPhone game startup ngmoco, wants to “amass enough scale” to accelerate “away from the pack.” He just raised a $25 million series C round and acquired Freeverse, another top iPhone game developer, to help ngmoco keep moving forward
Seconds after this, twitter exploded. Ngmoco and Freeverse are two big players in the AppStore. I don't know the market share they account for, but according to O'Reilly, Ngmoco has managed to place almost half of its paid apps and three quarters of their free apps in the top 100. Freeverse presents better numbers in the paid category and many iPhone gamers feared that Ngmoco would impose its free empire.
Don't worry, not yet. Freeverses all apps are paid and I fear as well to have to pay for extra balls in Skee-Ball, the idea simply frightens me. Freeverse Senior Producer Bruce Morrison confirmed that existing plans will remain and there won't be substantial changes. However, in an interview with TUAW, Freeverse CEO Ian Lynch Smith shows his support to ngmoco's model as a better way to make money. He insists that the company is profitable and is not selling because they need external support. They will continue to be based at Brooklyn and retain the Freeverse brand.
"On any given day, you have about 2% of your audience paying you money"
Neil Young, Ngmoco CEO
For the Mac nostalgics, the company isn't dropping the production of Mac software. They have been focused in iPhone games for the last year and a half.
"Ngmoco did not buy Freeverse to make radical changes. They bought us because of our success, and they bought us because of what we've been doing right."
Ian Lynch Smith, Freeverse CEO
To wrap it up, I agree with Darrell from theAppleBlog when he explains that ngmoco had done nothing but bringing innovation fro the AppStore and "should now be better able to continue bringing quality titles to market". I'm just hoping for the best in industry as they used to do, either free or paid.