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Ngmoco Socializes iPhone Gaming
Photograph by Drew Kelly
Photograph by Drew Kelly
Neil Young & Alan Yu
Cofounders, Ngmoco
San Francisco, CAlifornia

Neil Young, 39, and Alan Yu, 36, left Electronic Arts to start Ngmoco, a company focused exclusively on iPhone games. Every Ngmoco title has charted in the App Store's top 50. Its social network, Plus, creates new revenue streams for game developers.

Young: "The iPhone's incredible capability — and more important, its usability — creates something you can really monetize. Most apps earn revenue solely from downloads, but when you have users playing iPhone games more than 20 minutes a day on average, you can monetize their usage as well."

Yu: "The App Store — which has more than 20,000 games right now — is a very crowded, competitive place. Plus allows developers to add functionality, offer global scoreboards, and integrate with Twitter and Facebook."

Young: "Plus is free for developers, but we take a piece of the additional revenue streams that it creates: steering players to download new games; selling points that are earned, bought, and used in games; and advertising on the network embedded in Plus. Our network has been on 2 million devices."

Yu: "Plus enables our vision to make great games for this device because we can measure everything. We can see that people are getting stuck on level four of Topple and then tweak the game so people are playing longer."

A version of this article appeared in the December/January 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.