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Netmarble buys Kabam's Vancouver studio

Developer behind Marvel Contest of Champions joins Korean mobile company ahead of new Transformers game launch

In October it had been rumored that mobile publisher Kabam had been attracting multiple bids - some for as much as $800 million - for its Vancouver studio. While financial terms haven't been disclosed, we now know that the studio will indeed be sold, as Korean publisher Netmarble has reached an agreement with Kabam that's expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

The Vancouver studio has proven its worth with the popular Marvel Contest of Champions game, which has grossed over $450 million since launching in December 2014, has more than 90 million installs, and consistently ranks within the Top 10 on the App Store charts. The Vancouver studio is expected to launch Transformers: Forged to Fight worldwide in the second quarter of 2017.

"The Vancouver Studio is joining a premiere organization that will continue its legacy of creativity and propel it to the next generation of game development," said Kevin Chou, CEO and Co-Founder of Kabam. "We're extremely proud of the work we accomplished with the Vancouver Studio, and we know the team will continue their world-class work with Netmarble. No doubt they will continue to create amazing games for a global audience."

Netmarble has worked on a Marvel title before, having published Marvel Future Fight. The Korean company behind Seven Knights and EvilBane is hoping to leverage the Vancouver studio to bolster its presence in the West.

"We are thrilled to acquire Kabam's Vancouver studio, which has proven itself as one of the best in game development, and business competitiveness in the western market including the U.S" said Seungwon Lee, Chief Global Officer of Netmarble Games. "We look forward to strengthening Netmarble's business in the western market including the U.S. through this deal."

In addition to the development studio Netmarble will be acquiring the Customer Support teams based in Kabam's Austin office and parts of the Business Development, Marketing and User Acquisition teams from Kabam San Francisco, according to a press release the companies released today. "This will allow Netmarble to ensure players globally experience no interruptions in operations and support," Netmarble said.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.