Chinese-internet giant Alibaba has recently purchased a 10 percent stake in San Francisco mobile gaming company, Kabam Inc., giving it a valuation of more than $1 billion. CCTV America’s Mark Niu reported this story from San Francisco.
Alibaba buys 10 percent stake in US gaming company KambamChinese-internet giant Alibaba has recently purchased a 10 percent stake in San Francisco mobile gaming company, Kabam Inc., giving it a valuation of more than $1 billion. CCTV America's Mark Niu reported this story from San Francisco.
Kabam’s headquarters displays many of the big name franchises it has produced games for including “The Hobbit”, “Fast and Furious”, and “Marvel Contest of Champions”.
Now Alibaba is joining that list, with a $120 million investment.
Kabam spent time with most of the tech giants in China, but found Alibaba to be a cultural fit, Kabam’s Chief Operating Officer Kent Wakeford said
“The meeting with all the tech giants, negotiating a strategic partnership and an investment, did take about six months, which is a little bit longer than we anticipated. It was an education process for us to really understand what it takes to be successful in China,” Wakeford said.
Kabam has developed four games that have all made over $100 million in revenue, including “Kingdoms of Camelot” and “Dragons of Atlantis”. But it’s also had success publishing games from China, including “Wartune” and “Divine Might”.
“The game play is the same, but everything else changes, like the artwork, the themes, the characters. One example is a very well-known game from a company called GFan in Shanghai. The art style was very relevant to the Chinese market, but when we brought it to the West, we introduced new characters, and one character that everybody loved was a baby blue dragon that we introduced,” Wakeford said. “It became so popular that the developer in China brought this back to the Chinese game. It’s a really tight collaboration that we have with the developers in China.”
Kabam was founded by several Chinese-Americans and has been investing heavily in Asia and China for some time. The 850-person company now has 350 employees in Beijing.
“They are positioned, balanced almost perfectly between Eastern and Western game development talent. You have this interesting set of capabilities between Kabam’s game developers and the movie licenses that it has,” Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat, said. “Alibaba can promote Kabam games pretty heavily in China across all of their networks. That will be a great way for Kabam to launch games in that market.”
Takahashi said this is the first year that China will will become the largest gaming market in the world — worth around $28 billion.
China’s mobile gaming market is also now twice as large both the U.S. and Europe combined, he added.