SAN FRANCISCO--()--Kabam Inc., the leader in free-to-play games for core players, today announced that entertainment industry leaders Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) have partnered for an investment in the privately-held game maker. Terms were not disclosed.
“Partnering with Warner Bros. and MGM is a natural fit for Kabam as we create new story lines and extensions of Hollywood studios’ intellectual properties for millions of gamers worldwide”
Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) and Office of the President, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Gary Barber, MGM chairman and chief executive officer will join the Kabam Board of Directors as member and observer, respectively.
“Partnering with Warner Bros. and MGM is a natural fit for Kabam as we create new story lines and extensions of Hollywood studios’ intellectual properties for millions of gamers worldwide,” said Kabam Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Chou. “Either Kevin Tsujihara or Gary Barber would be a tremendous addition to any growing entertainment company’s board,” Mr. Chou continued. “To have both is a boon to Kabam.”
The moves follow the recent release of The Hobbit, Kingdoms of Middle-earth, a game co-developed by Kabam and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and based on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy, a production of New Line Cinema and MGM. In less than one month, The Hobbit, Kingdoms of Middle-earth has become the ninth top-grossing mobile app on Google and a top-25 grossing mobile app on Apple in the U.S. Kabam and WBIE are co-developing another Hobbit game to play via Web browsers, The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age, for release early next year. The first of the three Hobbit films is set for release by New Line Cinema and MGM on December 14.
“We partnered with Kabam almost a year ago to deliver incredible games for The Hobbit trilogy, arguably one of the top intellectual properties in the world,” said Mr. Tsujihara. “As we worked with Kabam, it became clear that a closer, more strategic partnership made sense for us both. Kabam is a leader in the industry and we look forward to being a part of their continued growth.”
“Kabam offers great strategic vision and discipline for growth and they are the best at what they do,” said Mr. Barber. “They are a natural partner for us on both our vast selection of IP as well as potential future projects.” Mr. Barber’s MGM co-owns rights to The Hobbit and owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content including the James Bond franchise and its latest installment Skyfall.
The two famed Hollywood companies join Silicon Valley titans Google and Intel and leading venture capital firms Canaan Partners and Redpoint Ventures as investors in Kabam.
Kabam’s board is unique in the social games sector as it has a diversified blend of members that includes investors and operational executives.
“Effective boards govern and advise their companies,” Mr. Chou said. “Kabam has greatly benefitted from the collective wisdom of our current board and we look forward to added insights from Mr. Tsujihara and Mr. Barber, two media company executives at the top of their game.”
Mr. Tsujihara was named president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) when it was founded in 2005. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment includes the Studio’s home video, digital distribution, videogames, anti-piracy, and emerging technology operations. Mr. Tsujihara has held numerous senior executive positions at Warner Bros. since 1994 and was appointed to the Office of the President for Warner Bros. Entertainment in 2011. Earlier in his career, Mr. Tsujihara worked as a merger and acquisitions manager in Ernst & Young’s audit and entertainment division. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Stanford University. Mr. Tsujihara serves on the board of directors of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), City Year Los Angeles, an education focused, nonprofit organization, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, OnLive, the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation, and the Entertainment Software Association.
Mr. Barber is chairman and chief executive officer of MGM having joined the company in December 2010. Previously, he co-founded the production, finance and distribution company Spyglass Entertainment in 1998 where he continues to serve as co-chairman of the board. From 1989 to 1997, Mr. Barber was vice chairman and COO of Morgan Creek. Earlier he was president of Vestron International Group. Mr. Barber received undergraduate and post graduate degrees from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Kabam, the leader in free to play core gaming, is transforming the traditional gaming industry. The company’s studios focus on combining the best elements of traditional and social gaming to appeal to a growing audience of gamers looking for highly immersive social games on PC, mobile, and tablet platforms. Recent Kabam titles include The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, The Godfather: Five Families, Dragons of Atlantis, Edgeworld, the award-winning Kingdoms of Camelot, and Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North. Kabam games are currently available for play on iOS, Android, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Kabam.com, and an ever growing number of global social networks and online channels, as well as mobile and tablet. Founded in 2006 with headquarters in San Francisco, Calif., Kabam has built a team of game industry professionals, from scratch in the last three years, committed to creating deeply engaging games that delight our players. More information about Kabam can be found at www.kabam.com.