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Ngmoco's We Rule is live, but buggy

Ngmoco's We Rule is now available for download worldwide in the App Store -- it's the first ground-up game developed for their big freemium experiment, in which they give away a game and then support it with periodic updates, bringing in revenue with in-app purchases driven by social interaction and game design.

I got to play the game at GDC a few weeks ago, and if you've ever played Facebook's Farmville, you'll find most of it very familiar -- you can plant crops, build a town, and earn money both by waiting in real time for investments to pay off, and trading/giving items among friends. Early App Store ratings are pretty good, and while the app doesn't seem to be charting yet, Ngmoco's Neil Young made it clear at GDC that this is a slow burn model -- they're not worried so much about charts as building up average daily users.

Unfortunately, it seems the app suffered from some early bugs -- the game requires a 'net connection to run (like Farmville, it's very server oriented), and many users were having trouble connecting. Young wrote a blog post himself about the issues the other day; he says that it's primarily a server problem, and that the teams are working as quickly as they can to fix issues. Not unexpected -- Ngmoco's model calls for an "MVP" ("Minimum Viable Product") to be released on the App Store, so again, they're more interested in how the app does long term, not in the first few days.

Other than the hiccups (which did result in a few bad App Store reviews and ratings), We Rule appears to be taking off carefully. We'll have to wait and see if the Farmville-style click-and-wait gameplay is enough to bring in those average daily users that Ngmoco is craving from the App Store.

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