Kevin Chou is an entrepreneur who has guided Kabam from a handful of people working above a dim sum restaurant in 2009 to an expected $325 million revenue, sustained profitability, and more than 650 employees worldwide by the end of 2013.
Chou has led the disruption of the video game industry by revolutionizing the way players access and pay for games.
He has secured partnerships with leading game platforms, as well as with Hollywood studio giants such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, MGM, and NBCUniversal to make games based on some of the world's most beloved movie franchises.
Under his leadership, Kabam has raised more than $125 million in capital from venture and strategic investors including Google, Intel, Canaan, Redpoint, Pinnacle, SK Telecom, Warner Brothers, and MGM.
Before co-founding Kabam, Chou worked at the global venture capital firm Canaan Partners, where he invested in 14 consumer technology and online media companies. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC Berkeley with a BS in Business Administration.
Pocket Gamer: What were your favourite games as a kid?
Kevin Chou: Starcraft, Street Fighter 2 and Legend of Zelda.
When did you realize you wanted to make games as a career?
We saw the rise of casual games on Facebook in 2008 and we knew there was a market for core games on Facebook, then on the web, then on mobile.
What was your first role in the industry?
It's been co-founder and CEO of Kabam. It's been an amazing trajectory - zero to expected $325 million in annual revenue in less than four years.
What do you consider your first significant success?
Kabam's first game Kingdoms of Camelot, which we launched on Facebook in 2009, is still growing in popularity and it has become a $250 million franchise in less than four years.
It's the one of the top ten strategy franchises of all time.
When did the potential for mobile games become apparent to you?
Early in 2011, Kabam started to re-tool for mobile. We launched our first mobile title, Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North in 2012 and it went on to become the #1 grossing app on iOS that year.
What do you think is the most significant event in mobile gaming?
The exponential rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets.
Today 1.5 billion mobile devices are used by consumers worldwide and games have the strongest reach, engagement and monetization on all mobile platforms.
To-date, what are you most proud of? Any regrets?
I'm most proud of evolving Kabam into a leading free-to-play mobile gaming company that started as a Facebook and web gaming company.
My biggest regret is not identifying mobile platforms as a major transition in the industry sooner.
Which mobile games have you most enjoyed recently?
I play many games. My favorite non-Kabam game is Kingdom Rush. It's good to know what the competition offers, but Kabam's Fast & Furious 6: The Game keeps me racing.
What are your predictions for the future of mobile games?
Increasing quality to make mobile games comparable to console-quality in terms of gameplay, graphics, fidelity, and sound.
Tablets are the new consoles.
In which area of the industry do you hope to make a difference in future?
I hope to make gaming as important to the entertainment industry as movies and television are today.
Starting out in simple monochrome in the days of Snake and WAP, the past decade has seen the mobile games industry kaleidoscope into a glorious, multi-billion dollar sector that's driving global innovation.
So it's high time we celebrate some of the people who helped make that journey possible - something PocketGamer.biz is doing in its regular Mobile Gaming Hall of Fame feature.
If you have a suggestion for someone you think should enter our Hall of Fame, please email jonathan [dot] morris [at] steelmedia [dot] co.uk