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Kabam sidesteps Facebook's massive social gaming community to debut their new property with Google+
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+.
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Kabam is an interactive entertainment company leading the next wave in social gaming, developing and publishing massively multiplayer social games (MMSG’s), including the popular and critically praised title Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis. Our studios focus on combining the best elements of traditional and social gaming to appeal to a growing audience of players looking for deeper, more engaging social games. The first wave of Kabam’s new games for Facebook and leading media sites have been widely recognized for their depth of play and social interaction.
Kabam started out as Watercooler, whose aim was to make connecting with your friends, family, and other fans of your favorite TV shows or Sports teams more compelling than ever before. By bringing fan communities into the context of your social network, Watercooler enables more engaging sports and TV fan experiences. Fans are able to access Watercooler's FanSection and TVLoop communities no matter where they are on the web: Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Hi5, MyYahoo, and TVLoop.com. Over 35 million sports and TV fans have joined Watercooler's fan applications making it the largest online fan community.
Kabam was founded by a team of social networking and community software professionals in Mountain View, CA, in 2006. The company has raised a Series A round of financing from Canaan Partners of Menlo Park, CA.