King.com, well-armed game company, strikes latest distribution deal

King.com, one of the largest makers of games where people compete against each other for small awards, has announced an exclusive partnership with RealNetworks, a once popular video player company that has struggled of late.

This is just the latest deal happening in the increasingly competitive online gaming industry. However, we mention this one because King (previous coverage) and Real have been particularly active of late.

Last week, King announced MyGame.com, which lets you create, play and share games. It’s trying to let anyone create their own game in just two minutes, which can also be shared via embeddable widgets.

RealNetworks announced a deal on Tuesday with toy-maker Mattel, where it will turn classic Mattel titles like the Uno card game or the Scrabble board game into online and downloadable games.

This latest deal makes London-based King.com the exclusive provider of skill games for Real, including popular titles such as Solitaire, Sudoku and American Idol. Real will be the exclusive provider of online and downloadable casual games for King’s audience.

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King.com claims to be the largest online “skill gaming” site on the web, referring to games where users compete against each other for prizes. It says it had more than 80 million games played this past January.

RealNetworks has been developing casual-gaming sites of its own, including RealArcade.com, GameHouse.com and Zylom.com. The company says brings it in more than 40 million unique players per month. It is also still perhaps best known to consumers for its formerly popular RealPlayer streaming video and audio player; web sites such as YouTube use Adobe’s Flash Player, instead.

King’s 60-plus skill games are available in eight languages and in seven currencies. The company has raised over $45 million from Europe-based Apax and Index Ventures, as well as individual investors. (You’ll see different figures on this in our previous coverage, because the dollar amount is translated from euros, and the dollar keeps falling!)