If you play Facebook games, then you are familiar with Kabam games. The company is the maker of Kingdoms of Camelot, Dragon of Atlantis and Glory of Rome. The company is getting $85 million in a financing round led by Google’s venture arm, helping the startup expand in Asia, hire developers and make acquisitions.
The investment is also being co-led by Pinnacle Ventures, and now values Kabam at about $500 million. The Bay Area company has raised $125 million since it started five years ago as a sports and social media group, but transformed into creator of social games. Kabam was formerly called Watercooler, and changed their name last year. The size of its personnel has shot from 25 to 400 in just the last year.
Kabam allows users to play its games for free on Facebook and makes money by charging for virtual items. Virtual items are a very popular market that is forecasted to earn $20.3 billion in 2014, double from $9.3 billion last year. Kabam is targeting “hard-core gamers.” These types of players drive parents and teachers nuts and spend endless hours engaged in complex adventures. They are very often seen with video-game consoles.
“We’ve created hard-core games that have a very distinctly social flavor,” Kabam Chief Executive Officer Kevin Chou recently said. “Compared to buying the latest console game and having to pay upfront at a retail store, they pay only if we deliver them entertainment value.”
The most recent investment also includes financing from Performance Equity Management LLC and SK Telecom Ventures, which is part of South Korea’s largest mobile-phone company.
Kabam is currently in the process of building a data center in Las Vegas. If you are looking for a job in this field, apparently, they are hiring the necessary people to manage the bandwidth required for streaming 3-D games and running applications that allow thousands of people playing simultaneously.