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Kabam Acquires China’s Balanced Worlds Studio

Kabam Inc., the leader in free-to-play games for core players, today announced the acquisition of Balanced Worlds Studios, a Beijing-based team that specializes in action-oriented 3D social games. Terms were not disclosed.

Balanced Worlds is headed by three North American AAA developers, CEO Christopher Pfeiffer, COO Alexander Ronalds, and CTO Maxim Garber, who relocated to China in 2006 to tap into Asia’s burgeoning social games development community. This summer the studio launched the engaging 3D action game Bomb Buddies. Pfeiffer and Ronalds, who are American, and Garber, who is Canadian, have contributed to such games over the years as Resistance: Fall of Man, Ratchet & Clank, Red Faction, Descent, the Greg Norman Ultimate Challenge Golf series, Spy Hunter, and the NHL Faceoff series.

The Balanced Worlds team brings a strong discipline and creative flare in 3D game development that will complement Kabam’s expanding portfolio of games,” said Andrew Sheppard, president of Kabam Studios. “By merging Balanced Worlds’ expertise into Kabam’s already robust studio in Beijing, Kabam will continue to diversify its mobile offerings beyond the enormously popular strategy games Kabam is known for.”

“Our shared vision of high-quality core 3D mobile games is perfectly aligned,” Pfeiffer said. “The Balanced Worlds team is proud to become a highly productive part of Kabam’s amazingly successful mobile-focused studio in Beijing.”

Kabam opened its Beijing studio in May 2010 and is under the direction of Kabam co-founder Mike Li. The studio’s latest output is the highly successful The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and inspired by Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM). The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth launched concurrently on iOS and Android devices in November and already is a top 20 grossing app in the Apple Store and Google Play.

Kabam’s Beijing studio also developed Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North, an extension of Kabam’s three-year-old Kingdoms of Camelot franchise. When it launched in March, the game immediately shot to the top of the highest grossing iOS apps chart for several months, where it remains in the top ten. The Kingdoms of Camelot franchise has grossed more than $100 million in three years, making it a top ten strategy game of all time.

Balanced Worlds’ team of 17 will relocate to the Kabam facility in the Central Business District, bringing the number of Kabam employees in Beijing to more than 90.

The Balanced Worlds deal continues a series of Kabam acquisitions, which include since 2010 WonderHill, Fearless Studios, Gravity Bear, and Wild Shadow Studios. In addition to its San Francisco headquarters and Beijing operations, Kabam has customer service and corporate offices in Luxembourg and Germany, and this year opened a development studio in Austin, Texas. Kabam is hiring developers and designers in all of its studio locations.

As for being an American working in China, Pfeiffer says, “Life in China imitates the art of game creation. The feeling of continual progress is intoxicating.”

About Kabam

Kabam, the leader in free to play core gaming, is transforming the traditional gaming industry. The company’s studios focus on combining the best elements of traditional and social gaming to appeal to a growing audience of gamers looking for highly immersive social games on PC, mobile, and tablet platforms. Recent Kabam titles include The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earthThe Godfather: Five Families,Dragons of AtlantisEdgeworld, the award-winning Kingdoms of Camelot, and Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North. Kabam games are currently available for play on iOS, Android, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Kabam.com, and an ever growing number of global social networks and online channels, as well as mobile and tablet. Founded in 2006 with headquarters in San Francisco, CA, Kabam has built a team of game industry professionals, from scratch in the last three years, committed to creating deeply engaging games that delight our players. More information about Kabam can be found at www.kabam.com.

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