Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA bought mobile app developer Ngmoco last year for $400 million. Since then, the company has acquired a range of other outfits and worked to tie the San Francisco startup in with everything else it does.
In general, things seem to be improving. The conglomerate just posted a strong third quarter, with net sales up 16%, which in turn boosted the stock price by more than 8% for a valuation of $4.8 billion. However, net income declined versus the same period the previous year, from $106 million to $79.2 million.
And maybe cost savings had something to do with a rumor we heard last week and have since confirmed: Ngmoco recently had a round of layoffs — maybe somewhere above 30 people, according to one source. The number isn’t huge, but among the departed are senior leaders including a director of platform tech and the chief marketing officer, this person tells me. One game has apparently been shut down, while another has been pared down, with some engineers remaining to see it to launch.
Here’s the company’s response today, from the normally pithy Ngmoco chief executive Neil Young: “Armed with the insights we’ve gained from both the Western and Japanese markets and after completing the integration of a series of key acquisitions, we’ve organized our global operations to best support and deliver on our mission to build the leading Global Social Mobile Game Platform company.”
“We’re incredibly proud of our company and our products,” he added. “We thank everyone that has helped us get to where we are today.”
All in all, it seems that Ngmoco went on a big hiring spree, then had to figure out what was working in coordination with everything else that was happening at DeNA. These types of organizational changes happen in business. The good news for those laid off is that there are lots of other mobile app developers who are hiring (including Ngmoco, it appears).
ngmoco (“Next Generation MObile COmpany”) is creating and producing games for the iPhone. CEO Neil Young is a former executive from Electronic Arts, where he oversaw the development of several hit titles. Another EA vet and partner at Kleiner Perkins, Bing Gordon, sits on the board. Kleiner is an investor through its iFund.