Well it’s the end of an era for one of iOS’ first big companies. It was just about four years ago that I posted here in this very space that former EA executive Neil Young (no relation) was going to start up a company called ng:moco, and it was soon after that he published the breakout hit Rolando, following it up with the freemium title We Rule and eventually creating an empire (and changing the way a lot of people think about freemium games). Over the years, however, Ngmoco has fallen from its peak in popularity, as it was acquired by the Japanese social gaming giant DeNA, and then decided to focus mostly on bringing cheap ports of that company’s games over to Android instead.
And now, Neil Young and cofounder Bob Stevenson have decided to leave the company, moving on to what they hope will be “their next adventure.” They leave Clive Downie in the position of CEO with the company, another former EA VP who’s been with Ngmoco for a little while now.
Ngmoco certainly inspired quite a bit of hate from players — the company’s focus on freemium games left more traditional titles like Rolando in the dust, and its acquisition of venerated Mac publisher Freeverse essentially resulted in the death of that classic brand. But Ngmoco’s popularity during the rise of iOS is also undeniable, and Young’s ideas on freemium gaming have been adopted by many, many App Store game developers working today. It remains to be seen what Young’s next project will be, but there’s no question that, by starting up Ngmoco, he’s left an indelible mark on the short history of Apple’s iOS platform already.