King.com grew up in the age of web portals, offering skill-based games for players who liked to play casual tournament games. But this is the age of disruption for games, so the company expanded into Facebook games in February and is launching its first cross-platform mobile game, Miner Speed, today on the iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).
With this launch, it will become a truly modern game company, with games across the web, Facebook, and mobile.
The popular jewel match game, a clone of Bejeweled, is already played more than 50 million times a month on Facebook and on King.com’s other platforms. Now the new mobile app lets players square off against others via Facebook Connect or improve their skills in single-player games. The iPhone version lets players compete against friends on Facebook. An Android version is coming this summer.
“We are excited to announce the first mobile game within our new cross-platform approach,” said Riccardo Zacconi, chief executive of King.com. “We want to enable our users to connect with friends and play anywhere, anytime and from any device they want. Offering games not only on King.com, but through Facebook, and on mobile and tablet devices delivers just that.”
More games are coming across the mobile and tablet devices in the coming months. Miner Speed challenges users to match jewels at a fast pace in competition with other players. Rivals include PopCap Games, which is also moving from the web the new platforms on tablets and mobile, as well as other tournament rivals such GSN.
King.com has more than 25 million unique users and 400 million games played per month. The company has more than 200 exclusive games in 10 languages. It offers the games on King.com, Facebook, mobile devices, and on a bunch of portals such as Yahoo, MSN, NBC, CBS, Real Networks, Orange, RTL, Sat 1, Endemol, MTV3, Lifetime and other leading media companies.
The company tries to differentiate itself from the hordes of casual game makers by focusing on tournament play and creating games with its own game studio, which has built eight of the top ten games on King.com. On Facebook, the launch has gone well, growing from 2.4 million monthly active users to 5.6 million in three weeks. That’s still a lot smaller than Zynga, which has 259 million monthly active users, but it’s not bad. King.com was founded in 2003 and has 120 employees. It has raised $46 million to date from from Index Ventures, Apax Partners and angels. It has been profitable since 2005.
Check out our GamesBeat 2011 conference, which takes place July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The event will focus on mobile games and it is co-located with our MobileBeat 2011 conference.
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