iPhone games publisher Ngmoco has raised a first round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Kleiner Perkins partner Bing Gordon, the former chief creative officer of Electronic Arts, will join the San Francisco company’s board. The amount was not diclosed.
It isn’t too hard to connect the dots here. Neil Young (pictured left), a longtime EA veteran, recently quit to found Ngmoco (whose name means next-generation mobile company) to make iPhone games. In April, Gordon (pictured below) left EA after more than 26 years at the big game publisher to become a venture capitalist.
So it’s no surprise that Young has raised his first round from an old friend. Maples Investments, an early stage fund with expertise in games and social networks, also participated in the round. Ngmoco will use the investment to create, acquire and publish games built specifically for the iPhone.
The money comes from Kleiner Perkins’ iFund, a $100 million fund for iPhone and mobile computing investments. Since starting in June, Gordon has been actively joining boards of companies that Kleiner Perkins has funded.
It will be interesting to see whether Young can make Ngmoco into a mobile games player. There is stiff competition from the likes of Glu Mobile, Sega, Electronic Arts’ EA Mobile division, Gameloft and a variety of other companies. Those companies all have a head start making games for the iPhone.
On Apple’s new AppStore, games are the No. 1-downloaded application, as MG Siegler has reported. About 53 of the top 100 downloads are games. But Young stated previously that the current generation of iPhone games reflect early thinking and that he believes there is plenty of room for new innovation. He believes that there is a gap in the market between cheap mobile phone games and the Nintendo DS games that sell for $30. The average price paid for iPhone applications is $4.96.
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