Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have invested in social games producer Kabam, marking the first move by Hollywood studios in the space since Walt Disney Co. acquired Playdom for $563 million two years ago.
Unlike competitors such as Zynga that target casual players, Kabam goes after more hard-core players with games on Facebook, smartphones and tablets.
First known for original games such as "Kingdoms of Camelot" and "Dragons of Atlantis," Kabam has in the last year started working on licensed titles based on movies. Its first was "The Godfather: Five Families" and earlier this year the company agreed to make two games based on "The Hobbit," the film trilogy co-produced by Warner and MGM.
Kabam's first game under that deal, "The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth" was released in November, ahead of Friday's theatrical release of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." A second game, "The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age," will come out early next year. Both are made by Kabam but released and marketed in collaboration with Warner Bros.' video game division.