MocoSpace Gets SoftBank Investment For Mobile Gaming Expansion

Over the past five years, MocoSpace has built a community of 14 million users on its mobile social network, and is now planning a significant expansion that will leverage the user base to create a social gaming platform for third-party developers. As part of the plan, SoftBank Capital is investing $3.5 million into the company that has been profitable since late last year.

The move into gaming by MocoSpace is notably for two reasons: First, MocoSpace has built one of the first communities on the phone from scratch that didn’t already have brand recognition from the Web. Second, it has built the community primarily through the mobile web on on lower-end phones, rather than through applications on smartphones. It did not launch smartphone applications until this summer.

MocoSpace’s emphasis on the mobile internet will allow it to stand out compared to the competition, including ngmoco and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which have both built gaming platforms for mobile applications. But MocoSpace claims there is an advantage to working through the browser — the games can operate on any phone, allowing friends who even don’t have the same devices, to compete with one another. That provides a better chance for the game to spread virally. As part of the network, developers will also be able to tap into MocoSpace’s 14 million users, who actively view three billion page views a month and play one million games a month. The audience is also diverse, comprising of a third Hispanic and a third African Americans.

As part of investment, SoftBank Capital