With an additional $25 million in funding recently secured, it was revealed mere moments ago that ngmoco acquired Freeverse, the developer/publisher responsible for many different games that have wound up in the top iTunes charts including Skee-Ball, Flick Fishing, and others. Freeverse was originally founded as a Mac shareware company in 1994 but has made a very successful transition to iPhone game development. This new round of funding brings ngmoco's outside investment total to $40.6 million, a staggering amount of money for an iPhone game startup to be fueled by.

With the previous acquisition of Miraphonic, creators of Epic Pet Wars and other Epic Wars games, ngmoco has set their sights on the "freemium" market and have already seen two major successes in both TouchPets and Eliminate. Both games have been installed 9 million times and are played by hundreds of thousands of people every day.

Ngmoco plans on moving Freeverse's games to a similar free-to-play model, then make money off various in-app purchases much like ngmoco's upcoming games We Rule and GodFinger. They plan on releasing around 20 new games this year, and expect Freeverse to produce just as many.

We have an interview scheduled with Freeverse VP Colin Smith first thing tomorrow morning, and plan on getting to the bottom of what (if any) major changes we will see from Freeverse aside from switching to the new payment model. Freeverse was responsible for recent iPhone games Parachute Ninja, Zombie Cannon Carnage, and NBA Hotshot.

[via Tech Crunch]

  • Miffed

    Crap.

    • TheFamousEccles

      Ngmoco is the biggest d-bag of a game company ever.

      • Miffed

        Next to Gameloft.

      • Noman

        At least gameloft tries, ngmoco lures you in with a free pricetag and then rips you off one........in-app.......purchase....at a time.

      • Adams Immersive

        Is paying after download instead of before always bad?

        Or is what you get for your money and how clearly it’s communicated that is important?

        I’m happy to have free-with-DLC as long as the total end price is fair, as long is the game can be enjoyed without paying forever, and as long as what you get for free is clearly stated and fun in its own right.

        Ngmoco has been experimenting with a new model, so some missteps are likely, but I haven’t seen anything from them so far that crosses any lines.

    • oliath

      Wow. That sucks... Well at least i can now cross freeverse off my list of must buy game devs.

      ngmoco have gone from the best to the absolute worst thing in iphone gaming and now they are showing their true EA roots by buying out all the decent companies and turning them to sh##.

      Good job ngmoco.

      I can't wait till they buy doodle jump and make you pay for every platform you jump on.

    • http://klicktock.com Matt

      Crap exactly.
      My blood just went cold.

  • Kefka

    This is AMAZING news! Just think of the possibilities! :)

    • Miffed

      What possibilities? Epic Parachute Ninja Wars?

    • http://f1stockcars.com/ Ade

      Yeah, it's amazing.... I look forward to more fantastic stealth-tax-to-play "free" games

      • http://insomniachronicals.blogger.com Levi

        No kidding. I'm so sick of seeing "Just 99 cents for 1 more blah point for this stupid text only 'mmo' facebook game clone". Farmville and stuff where you have to pay real money for in game items is just dumb. How about you put an ad in the loading screen to pay your continual costs, and let us play the FULL game for less than $infinity

  • Diablohead

    I don't know what to say, it brings both good and bad thoughts to me.

  • ngmof****

    It's the end of the world as we know it (8)

  • ngmof****

    It's the end of the world as we know it (8)

    by: R.E.M.

  • Will090

    Well Warp Gate is screwed now

  • Colbertj

    Maybe it's just me, but Freeverse's games aren't anything special. I am rather dubious of a 25 million dollar purchase. Anyone else?

    • arn

      the purchase price was not specified

  • LKR

    Jesus.

  • paul@tag

    ... I think we'll see ALOT more of this during the year, especially where a company has a few iPhone hits or more.

    • Moggy Lloyd

      I wonder if Tag Games will be snapped up :-)

      One of the best things about the App Store so far and of the whole iPhone gaming platform has been how often small but very talented developers have been able to score big hits and compete very well with the major players. If the big guns are now gobbling up the smaller guys and forming monopolies then it could suck a lot of the creativity and innovation out of the system.

      • http://wohclams.net Andrew Malchow

        Or the incentive of a large cash buyout (however perverse that is as a goal) will motivate new developers to enter the app market and will require them to prove themselves with quality indie releases?

  • Moggy Lloyd

    This is probably not good news. It means more games will be released using this crappy freemium pricing structure. I've greatly enjoyed some Freeverse games, notably Slotz Racer, but I wouldn't have touched them if they too had been free-to-play with countless in-app purchases afterwards.
    If the long-awaited Warp Gate is ever released and is given a reasonable one-off price tag then I will be very happy to buy it. If it now gets released as a freemium game then I simply won't bother with it.

    • Adams Immersive

      What if they’re free to play, with NO in-app purchases afterward?

      That’s been my situation: the DLC has been optional, and I haven’t bitten, so I’ve come out ahead :) Advancing more slowly in a game doesn’t kill me. And I can always buy a few bucks of optional DLC just to support the game.

  • http://www.ringtail.com/ Porsupah

    With ngmoco's move to embrace DLC as the sole revenue stream, I can't help but think of the MST3K invention exchange featuring Johnny Longtorso..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk0i0yTPJBY

    • TheFamousEccles

      I actually thought of that right away. You have gained my respect and I'm totally getting Astro Ranch right away.

      • TheFamousEccles

        Why did I bring Astro Ranch into this? I must have mistaken you for the dev.

      • http://www.ringtail.com/ Porsupah

        Not to worry - I'll be getting Astro Ranch too, given the DLC appears to be purely optional. I kept on visiting my AC:WW village every night for about two years.. /way/ past any illusion of freshness in the varieties of villager "conversations", but the place was just a pleasant way to round off a day with a quick ten minutes or so.

        Good to know the Jedi classes are working, though. =:)

  • mattman93

    This whole pay to play thing needs to stop, just let me buy the game in a playable form. If I like it I'll buy cosmetic DLC.

  • dumas1000

    Freeium version of Warp Gate, here we come! What, is it so bad the idea of having to spend real money to purchase in-game fuel for your ship? /sarcasm

    Seriously though. Ngmoco has stopped production on real games. Freeium is just a nicier classification of piece-meal. Freeverse, on the other hand, was still developing real games.

    Truth is soon there will be an annoucement that Playmesh has purchased both Ngmoco and Freeverse. Eventually, Playmesh will take over the world. Good times.

  • PamaSinghUK

    WOW

    I am a very big fan of Ngmoco this is just shocking news to me

    Well Done!!!

  • Pete Jones

    This marks the end of a good mac developer. This is awful news.

  • Love

    This can go two ways. I have always liked freeverse and I hope ngmoco takes care of them, and warpgate, so we won't have to buy ship parts for real money.

  • MidianGTX

    I was going to make a comment earlier about how not everyone likes Freemium, and that such a move has the potential to be a dangerous one, but I figured there would be enough people who do like it to flame the life out of me for the remark. I guess not.

    So I stand by my original thought. Freemium is not the next evolution of games, it's a niche market and works well in a select few circumstances. Gamers were perfectly happy with paying a one-time fee for a full game.

  • Love

    Yes, it surely feels very strange. Freeverse should have buyed ngmoco.

  • redking31591

    well there's another nail in the coffin for my like of ngmoco. they are so stupid for thinking freemium is the only way to go.

  • Tek Jansen

    I don't really like ngmoco's pay to play system, but I guess the free-market will decide.

  • Sushibox

    @PorsupahGypsy: "Evil... you are EVIL!!!!"

    @Diablohead I couldn't agree more. While I can understand the freemium model, I think it only works in certain situations. Situations like virtual pets made some sense to me, especially if you used in-app purchases for cosmetic enhancements like dog clothes. While I don't pay for food or energy in Touch Pets or Eliminate, it's presence doesn't offend me at all, especially at the low rate I play those titles compared to other games. I will say however with news that Rolando 3 has been pushed back to the drawing board because of the freemium model, I surely have a problem. It's just sad that they can't have their cake and eat it too. I love that they're making money, and freemium games are great for them, but when solid titles that could be sold at a regular premium one-time cost are being shelved for the freemium games I have a problem. I can't see the logic in saying "we've got a taste of money making from this model, so now everything has to be this way". Why can't they division off their titles into multiple categories? Freemium titles are just that, and single-price titles are a completely different monster.

    I fear that some really good titles are either going to be abandoned or ruined because they're going to adapt the play to a freemium model, and that's just a shame.

    @MidianGTX exactly.

  • Methuselah

    I'm surprised that ngmoco was able to raise such a huge sum from outside sources given- if I'm not mistaken- not one of their games is in the top 100 list (both paid and top grossing). I believe Rolando 2 was their last game to crack the list.

    • arn

      Ngmoco's "biggest revenue day" was last weekend according to TechCrunch. That's on the revenue of free+DLC model, since they haven't released a traditional game recently.

      arn

      • chris

        where do they get there numbers from? id like to check them my self..

        also i guess ill delete parachute ninja. regret buying it now.. knowing its going to be in Ngmoco's hands.

        chris,

      • arn

        they got the numbers from ngmoco

  • chris

    i will not support this company.. ever.

    chris.

  • misfitskater6

    If Freeverse plans on continuing to make simple games like Skee-Ball (which I really like), I don't see how freemium would fit that type of game... Pay every so often to be able to earn tickets to get fake prizes? That would be sooooo retarded.

  • The Troll

    terrible news. gave freemium a chance and hate it.

    appstore development takes another blow and with the news that risky content is being taken away i think its time to move away from this once excellent platform. down the toilet it goes ...

  • redking31591

    I would at least like a choice. Like with Eliminate, make a version that I pay 9.99 for that recharges for frequently and such, and also make a version that is free but recharges slower encouraging the DLC. Don't dedicate yourself to one way or the other and try to shoehorn games into a format that they don't belong. Imagine if you got Halo 3 or Modern Warfare 2 free and then every 3 online matches It wanted you to pay to keep it up. You would get tired of it and never play the game even though it was free.

  • neo

    not good idea from ngmoco freeverse is boring

  • waht hi

    I used to love ngmoco. Now I hate them with their damn freemium crap.

  • MrMuesli

    I do like a lot of ngmoco's games (Star Defense, Word Fu to name a couple) but I couldn't be more disinterested in all that insidious pay-to-play nonsense.

    • Silverfist

      Yeah, that's not at ALL hyperbole... they're not raping you. Using your ccharming metaphor, they're asking you for sex. You can ways say "no."

      • MrMuesli

        I do say 'no'. I never buy into them. I thought I made that pretty clear.

      • Silverfist

        Not meant for you, sorry -- was trying to reply to LBG's post from 8:35 pm (below), but somehow managed to screw it up. Last time I try to do something like that on my phone...

        My apologies for the confusion.

        .

      • MrMuesli

        No sweat. Easily done: )

  • GiordanoTJ

    Isn't ngmoco the guys that say that like 95% of their games are pirated? And dlc hasn't been cracked yet (least I'm pretty sure) and so then that would mean their making more money with freemium plus dlc correct?

  • Michael

    Man... I liked Freeverse, from Flick Bowling to Flick Fishing to Skee-Ball. Now they're never going to release a non-freemium game again. Sigh...

  • dumas1000

    Pay to play, or freemium exists as a model only in response to people's spoiled, self-entitled cheapness. If only people had payed 9.99 for Rolando 2 and games similar to it, which is reasonable as far as Im concerned, this probably wouldn't have happened. Roland 2 would have cost at least 19.99 on the DS, and maybe even 29.99, and people would've bought it too. People consider appstore prices to be unreasonable, even when the most expensive idevice games are anywhere between 1/2 and 1/4 the cost of similar games on competing systems. We have brought this upon ourselves.

    • Sid

      I completely agree with this statement. Seriously for the cost of a beer you could have had six games, and yet people still complain. And then Apple takes their slice as well.

  • 1337Brian

    Freeverse = Great!
    NGMOCO = Bad!

    NGMOCO/Freeverse = ? Only time will tell...?

    • LBG

      True.

      In theory, the good and the bad could cancel each other out.

      But that is unlikely seeing as ngmoco is in control with their money grabbing freemium DLC crap that rapes the consumer.

      • 1337Brian

        LBG I agree 100% but I am also an optimist!...

  • Greg

    Ngmoco, you've obviously lost the hardcore iDevice gamer market. No one wants your freemium. You won't answer any of our questions. You've given up on the titles/franchises that endeared us to you. Something needs to change, or we're going to stop buying. Look at all the haters you've made. New pay plans only work if people are willing to pay them.

  • Jovrick

    This freemium crap would be ok if you where buying actual DLC, like level packs. It’s fine if the game is episodic or split in into cheaper pieces, that kind of thing is reasonable. The way Cogs is distributed is fine, for instance. It’s episodic, it’s a set of addon packs. You purchase the game, and you can buy more of it when you want it. That’s fine, it isn’t an economic science experiment meant to benefit the developers. Addon packs have been around forever.

    The problem is that Ngmoco isn’t charging for addon content, they’re charging you for regular in game items! They are charging you real money to purchase basic in-game content like the weapons in a first person shooter! Someone here joked that they’ll charge you for fuel in Warpgate, I’ll be willing to bet that that’s actually what they’re planning! It’s ridiculous! Its greed! Don’t call it anything else!

  • http://www.callboxlive.com Stan Winstone

    And that's how we wind up with crap games- consolidation/corporate purchase of talent...

    • Greg

      EA says hello!

  • 5duc29

    As much as I hate ngmoco for their freemium stance, I will still get their games. I think paying for a full game means you bought a whole product, a finished product. While freemium deals like Eliminate is never ending, it could be a good thing but also a bad thing as well, especially as it is more of an online revenue-gameplay while most finished products are played to keep not lose (no clue on what I have said). Freeverse going freemium seems okay to me, I never liked any their games :p

  • sk8erdude50

    dont you guys think that you are jumping at conclusions a little too quick? The two companies haven't even released a game together yet, but everyone still thinks that all of their games are going to be freemium.

  • Mac

    NGMOCO has the biggest bunch of overrated crap games in the store

  • Bok Choy

    I hate NGMoco and this news really sucks.

  • 1337Brian

    Well I'm a huge fan of hippieman and I have to say congrats because I'm sure he did it for the right reasons... $$$ And for that I don't blame him! I hope to see some good work from him with the new merger, let's just hope the pricing models change for our benefit....

  • crappymoco

    It's like i'm back at the arcade popping in 2 quarters every couple minutes to extend the game a little longer. This is why my family purchased a NES back in the day when I was growing up.
    I no longer play eliminate, my child has forgotten about their pet game because he can only play it for 5-10 minutes before he runs out of food. With a company that has the money to do whatever they want, they could develop the most amazing games for this platform. Instead they waste their time trying to come up with games that are just mediocre but freemuim that make you pay every 5-10 minutes.
    I'm not happy with NGMOCO or this FREEVERSE deal as FREEVERSE was better off on it's own.

    • LBG

      Yeah. It's fair enough for freeverse. I can't really blame them because they are doing it for money (probably lots). But don't expect me to buy any games/DLC under the "ngmoco regime".

  • shadowsfall

    Thanks for being a d-bag NgMoco.

    Why didn't you go with the "more helpful" companies?!

  • http://www.ummband.com poutini

    I liked eliminate - because I downloaded it for free and never spent a cent on it. :P

    It's like when Microsoft bought Rare. Except much less painful. Screw these publishers - the developers were doing alright on their own, making games they wanted to make. Bah.

  • ender

    I agree with many of the posts—NGMOCO seemed cool at first, but started showing their true colors with this freemium crap. I've always supported Freeverse and this buyout really sucks.

  • http://Brrrr ultimo

    Duh!
    Not freeverse... WHT?

    I am late? Oh... nevr mind

  • Raoupp

    Wow. The comments section is filled by pirates, trolls, spammers and 10 years old.

  • Trins

    The only positive thing I can think about is that Freeverse could finally get a decent logo for thei company.

    For the rest, I don't think ngmoco has something good to give Freeverse, except money.

    Ngmoco is the most overrated company for the iPhone.
    I'll keep repeating this forever

  • hell_gamer98

    oh neoes! not freeverse! aaaaaaaaaaaaaah

  • Mikhail

    EA Games / ngmoco
    whats the difference?

    • dariong8

      ngmoco makes you spend a $100 more dollars before you can successfully play a game without getting pwned by every other rich kid out there

  • nmz502

    Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NOT FREEVERSE!!

    I HATE "FREEMIUM games"

    I think ngmoco will become the next ea
    please, ngmoco don't make any more scamy games
    and@Apple, please have more DRM on iphone apps,maybe that will stop this madness.

  • steve

    Freeverse slotz racer for ps3 and xbox 360 please.............................

  • steve

    Freeverse slotz racer for ps3 and xbox 360 arcade someone needs to make it happen please……………………….

  • steve

    Slot car racing is big...Just check You Tube and see... thats why we need slotz racer for ps3 and xbox 360 arcade...we need this game....