Kabam set another company high for revenue in 2014 — its fifth consecutive year of growth.
The studio reported revenue of $400 million for the year, which is a another record for the privately held free-to-play mobile-game publisher — although chief executive Kevin Chou admits this figure was still below Kabam’s original guidance. But it is still up from $360 million in 2013. This comes as it continues to find success with The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth and as it finds new hits with releases like fighting game Marvel: Contest of Champions. Mobile gaming is worth around $25 billion worldwide, according to market researcher Newzoo, and Kabam represents a significant chunk of that by catering to an audience that loves games but doesn’t spend as much time with consoles or PCs as they used to.
In a statement, Chou notes that one of Kabam’s new divisions “underperformed.” He also said that his company “intentionally dialed down other revenue-generating opportunities” to ensure Kabam’s future rather than trying to milk as much as possible from the present.
Positioning Kabam for the future was a big part of 2014 for the company. It shook up its management team by appointing Nick Earl as its new president, Aaron Loeb as its new senior vice president, and TapZen’s Mike Verdu as another new senior vice president. Kabam’s leadership points out that the developer is now 10 times larger than it was just four years ago.
Under this new leadership, Kabam decided to whittle down its live products to just a handful of games. This group was also more willing to delay the releases of major products. Marvel: Contest of Champions missed its original release date, and Chou believes that led to the app’s eventual success. The studio also delayed the sequel to Fast & Furious 6: The Game. It is now coming out in the next few weeks.
Going forward, Kabam plans to continue shaving down what it does. That includes limiting the number of third-party games it publishes. Chou explained that Kabam’s publishing initiative has had “some good successes” but “not at the volume” the company had expected. It is not ending this program, but Chou said that his team will concentrate resources on just a few games.