Free-to-play core game studio Kabam has secured a massive investment from Chinese internet giant Alibaba -- $120 million, which gives Alibaba a seat on the company's board and rights to publish its games in China on its mobile platforms.
Kabam, originally founded in 2006, is based in San Francisco and develops games for the web and mobile. It first found success on Facebook with Kingdoms of Camelot
-- which it moved to mobile
in 2012, marking the start of a big uptick in the company's fortunes.
It started to concentrate
on the Chinese market in 2012, and doubled its revenues
"This strategic collaboration with Alibaba provides Kabam the resources, infrastructure and distribution to help bring our current and future durable franchise games to China and elsewhere in Asia and make an immediate impact," said Kabam CEO Kevin Chou in a statement.
According to the company, its games The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth
and Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North
have each generated more than $100 million in revenue. It has lately focused on licensed mobile games based on properties like The Fast and the Furious and The Hunger Games.
Alibaba is an e-commerce giant in China, operating sites that function much like eBay and PayPal do in the West; it has also created its own chat app, Laiwang, which is also a game distribution platform -- much like Chinese competitor Tencent's WeChat
or other Asian chat apps such as Korea's KakaoTalk
or Japan's Line
Alibaba is expected to have an initial public offering in September which could raise more than $20 billion
for the company. While terms of the investment were not disclosed, Kabam says that the game company is now valued at more than $1 billion.