In a risky move, social gaming company Kabam has licensed its new tentpole property The Godfather: Five Families with Google+ for a 45-day exclusive debut Wednesday, making Facebook effectively play second fiddle on a major new game.
One can't help but wonder about this move, considering that Facebook is a social gaming behemoth. Facebook's social networking games are the most popular applications on a very popular social networking site. Facebook's social gaming is (astonishingly) responsible for pumping between $12-$15 billion into the U.S. economy.
Also, Kabam has drastically slipped in popularity in the past months. It has fallen from 12.9 million users in August to only 2.9 million. It's biggest game currently is Dragon of Atlantis, with 1.1 million users. But the user stats for games Edgeworld and Global Warfare have both been drastically slipping in popularity.
So the debut of a game like The Godfather: The Five Families represents an opportunity to right the boat for Kabam, after a rough few months. And Kabam's plan to hitch their wagon to Google+ may be a sign of their confidence in the strength of the game itself, the fact that the uber-popular Godfather franchise likely won't need help, even from the undeniably popular distribution platform offered by Facebook.
Kabam has attracted attention not just from gamers but investors, receiving a whopping $85 million funding round in May to bring their total investments to $125 million. And so the move to debut with Google+ may be a case of "dance with the one who brung ya," since Google Ventures lists among the investors to support Kabam. Other investors include SK Telekom Ventures, Canaan Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Intel Capital.
Also something to take under consideration in the move is the fact that Google pulls a 5% take of digital goods transactions, as compred to Facebook's 30%.
The Godfather: The Five Families is the first game from Kabam to require licensing rights, which it received from Paramount Digital Entertainment. Kabam also partnered with Paramount Films, which owns the original film trilogy, to get the storylines and characterizations right.
This title marks the fourth Kabam game to launch on the five-month-old Google+.