Kabam hires Nick Earl as new head of worldwide studios

Steven Loeb · November 3, 2014 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3a25

Earl has spent the last 13 years at EA, most recently as SVP and general manager of EA Mobile

Kabam is one of the hottest mobile gaming companies out there right now, with some of the most popular titles in the space. So obviously it wants to take advantage and go big. Really big. So what better way to do that than to make a splashy hire, poaching an executive away from one of its's biggest rivals?

The company is bringing on Nick Earl, the current Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA Mobile, to be its new president of worldwide studios, it was reported by Venturebeat on Sunday.

While Kabam would not confirm the news to Venturebeat, nor has it returned Vator's request for comment on the new hire either, there is already one big clue that the story is true: Nick Earl went ahead and updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect the new position.

According to Venturebeat, Earl's appointment is not supposed to be announced until sometime in the coming week, so it’s possible he jumped the gun. As such, I'm screen capping it, in case he decides to change it back:

Earl has worked at EA for over 13 years, since September of 2001. Priot to that, he was VP Product Development at Eidos for two years, and spent six year before that as Executive Producer / GM at The 3DO Company.

Andrew Sheppard, the man who previously held the position, left Kabam to take a job as Chief Operating Officer at Gree International in August. In his new position, Earl will report directly to Kevin Chou, co-founder and CEO of Kabam. He will be in charge of overseeing hundreds of game developers.

Founded in 2006, Kabam is one of the better-known gaming studios out there right now, especially when it comes to its free-to-play games. Its games The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth and Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North both generated more than $100 million in revenue. Last year, Kabam had two of the top ten grossing apps in the App Store.

In 2013, Kabam had more than $360 million in revenues, a 100 percent increase over 2012. Prior to the partnership, Kabam had $60  million cash in the bank and has been profitable for the last two years.

International growth seems to be on the company's mind; in August it partnered with Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. 

As part of the deal, Alibaba will publish Kabam's mobile games in China across its mobile applications, including Mobile Taobao and Laiwang. Some of the titles that will be published include Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North, The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, Fast & Furious 6: The Game, and Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon.

In addition, the deal also called for Alibaba to invest $120 million into the company, giving Kabam a total of $245 million, and a $1 billion valuation. Previous investors included Redpoint Ventures, Intel Capital, Canaan Partners, Google Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Performance Equity and SK Telecom Ventures.

Given its success, Kabam is often mentioned as a potential IPO candidate, especially when it began diversifying its titles with the purchase of RPG developer Phoenix Age in May of this year.


Kabam has made the news official in a press release on Monday.

“Nick Earl is the perfect choice to drive the next phase of Kabam’s evolution and growth," Chou said in a statement. “Nick’s deep experience creating AAA titles will help Kabam continue to redefine what mobile games can be.”

(Image source: in-two.com)

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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.

Company History
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.

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GREE is a global mobile social gaming company at the forefront of mobile technology. GREE is focused on building the leading mobile social gaming ecosystem for users and developers worldwide, with an emphasis on creating and supporting unique free-to-play game content. The new GREE Platform will be available in Q2 2012. Following the acquisition of OpenFeint Inc. in April 2011, GREE's robust network now reaches over 190 million players and offers over 7,500 game applications to users around the world. With offices in Tokyo (head office), San Francisco, London, Beijing, Sao Paulo, and Dubai, GREE will continue to expand aggressively worldwide.