Why Larry Abrams thinks it's game over for Kabam

Why Larry Abrams thinks it's game over for Kabam

Last time we heard from Larry Abrams, the author of the GloMo Investing blog was arguing that MZ was worth $9 billion.

Earlier in the year, he also took a look at Kabam; a company he labels a "fallen unicorn".

Using the well-worn metaphor 'skating to where the puck is going' not 'skating to where it is,' Abrams considers Kabam's early successes and its current travails.

Turbulent times

Most of this is well known.

As it bought its online games such as Kingdoms of Camelot and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth to mobile, Kabam experienced strong growth.

Publicly announced figures include $180 million of sales in 2012, $360 million in 2013 and $400 million in 2014.

However, at one stage, the 2014 figure was expected to be over $500 million and the company was primed for IPO.

Since that period, Kabam has experienced difficult times, going through various rounds of redundancies, selling off online and other legacy mobile titles, and canning in-development titles.

Eye on the ball

From his point of view, Abrams points to December 2013 as the 'Kiss of Death'.

"Kabam stopped making visionary choices in 2013," he comments.

"What had happened was the emergence of a "talk the talk" culture championed by hired professional managers that favored strategies geared toward short-term revenue goals followed by an IPO."

He particularly points to Kabam's decision to spend $18 million (over 15 years) to gain the naming rights to Cal-Berkeley's football field.

"The naming of the football field at UC-Berkeley in December 2013 looks to be Kabam's symbolic "Kiss of Death"," he says.

Much anticipated

Whether the situation is irreversible, remains to be seen.

Abrams doesn't think so.

"It is running out of cash. The IPO window is permanently closed to mobile game companies after the Zynga and King Digital IPO debacles. Kabam’s only hope for more funds is Alibaba, its prime investor to date," he comments.

Conversely, it could be argued Marvel: Contest of Champions continues to be profitable and Kabam has games based on Avatar and Transformers IP due in 2017.

Certainly, everyone can agree there's a lot riding on those titles.

And as we've also pointed out, the issues facing Kabam are ones impacting a number of similarly-sized companies ranging from Glu Mobile to Zynga.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


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