Kabam has upped the ante in its battle to take on the Zynga’s of the world by acquiring WonderHill. Kabam is on a bit of a tear lately based on the success of it’s strategy game Kingdoms of Camelot. The company has expanded from 30 to 200 employees in the past year and has the ambitious goals of releasing a new game a month and becoming the Blizzard of Social Games according to an article in TechCrunch.
Until recently, WonderHill would not fit into such plans. Jason Kincaid of Techcrunch cites a conversation with WonderHill CEO James Currier from a year ago that sounded exactly like the conversation I had with him during that time. WonderHill was going to create casual family-fun Facebook games that would be both fun and good for you.
That strategy apparently did not work because fast-forward to now, and WonderHill just launched the new hard-core role-playing strategy game, Dragons of Atlantis.
Not that there is anything wrong with that change in strategy from casual to hard core. As Gamezebo noted in our review, we liked Dragons of Atlantis (though for a game with dragons in the title, more dragons please). And Kabam has proven in a brave new less-viral social world, strategy games rule on Facebook (as further evidence, see LOLapps brand new and cool RPG, Ravenwood Fair).
Now with WonderHill under its wing, Kabam has two strategy games in its arsenal and added talent to keep developing more.
It’s interesting that Kabam’s stated goal is to be the Blizzard and not Zynga of Social Games. Either Kabam, like the rest of the industry, thinks that Zynga is so ahead it’s not worth claiming to go after it’s dominant position. Or, Kabam believes the killer genre on Facebook are hard-core strategy games instead of more casual harvesting or “Ville” style games.
Which brings us back to Zynga. Where is Zynga’s hard core strategy games? While Kabam is ambitiously planning a new game launch each month, Zynga continues to slowly launch games, only launching 2 – 3 games this entire year.
That does not mean Zynga is not noticing the trend. Zynga recently bought Bonfire Studios, a development team that worked on such famous strategy games as Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. Surely, Zynga is working on its own role playing and strategy games and will not take this challenge from Kabam lying down.
For further reading, check out Inside Social Games analysis of the acquisition.