Kabam raises $30 million to make more core social games

Kabam continues to push forward in its attempt to become the number two biggest social games company, raising $30 million today, in addition to the $9.5 million it has raised previously.

The company has been on a bit of a tear lately, growing from 20 to 200 employees in the past years with offices down the road from me (in SF Bay area) and China. It has launched and acquired numerous games such as Dragons of Atlantis and Glory of Rome but bed and butter remains Kingdoms of Camelot.

The secret to Kabam’s success so far is that they are targeting the core gamer on Facebook. Their games are more like World of Warcraft than FarmVille, allowing them to carve out a niche on Facebook that Kabam and its investors hope will end up being bigger than the casual gaming crowd.

While Zynga is creating casual game titles all ending in “-Ville,” Kabam is starting to own the space around dungeons and dragons and warlords on Facebook.

Unfortunately for Kabam, the secret is out how hot core social games are and how well they make money. Digital Chocolate has already figured this out with their latest offerings (e.g., Ninjas Rising).

It’s only a matter of time before Zynga launches a core role playing game. I believe half the companies that Zynga has bought in the past year claim to have worked on the core strategy game Age of Empires (seriously, check that out) so they must be working on one right now.

Zynga just proved with CityVille that it could be a year late to release a game in a popular genre and still own that segment (city building). Whereas we used to be impressed with Social City and Millionaire City, now we’re blown away with CityVille and its gaming usage that is ten times as large.

The key for Kabam, is to make sure they have enough popular games to withstand the inevitable clash with Zynga in a core social games space that is getting more crowded every day.

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