Just days after Freeverse announced that it had sold over 5 million apps comes news via TechCrunch that Ngmoco, a top iPhone game publisher with widely recognized titles like Rolando and Touch Pets, has purchased Freeverse after securing $25 million in venture capital. Most of Freeverse’s apps sell for $0.99, and a good number of their titles, like Skee Ball and Flick Fishing, consistently reside on the top games list on iTunes.
But [Ngmoco founder Neil] Young plans to move the Freeverse games over to the free-to-play model, and then make money off in-app purchases. Young also acquired the $0.99 game Charadium from another game developer and plans to convert that over to free-to-play as well.
The model is working well for ngmoco. Young says TouchPets had “its biggest revenue day” last weekend, and its next two games, We Rule and GodFinger (a “social god game”), were designed specifically with the free-to-play model in mind. “On any given day, you have about 2% of your audience paying you money,” he says. He expects ngmoco to put out about about 20 new games this year, and the newly-acquired Freeverse team to nearly match that.
Young has been outspoken in his praise for the iPhone as a gaming device, and has been quick to state that it’s far superior as a platform than both the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP.
“Don’t let the haters tell you it sucks compared to the DS or the PSP,” Young has stated, “It doesn’t. It’s good. It’s clear that the quality of iPhone games is eclipsing its [portable] console counterparts, and that’s even more acute when you compare it against the prior generation.”
Young, who formerly worked for EA, originally formed Ngmoco in June 2008 so that he could focus all of his attention on iPhone app development.