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Absurdly accomplished, Kevin Chou has been an investment bank analyst at Deutsche Bank, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist at Canaan Partners and the CEO of a rare species of startup company, namely, a profitable one -- all before he turned 30.
Much bandwidth has been eaten up on breathless stories about social games such as Words With Friends and FarmVille, crowd-pleasing titles published by Zynga Inc. and played by more than 200 million people a month on Facebook and other social platforms.
By contrast, Kabam's titles, which include Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis, attract just 3 million players a month, according to AppData.com, a site that tracks traffic on the social network. That doesn't count players of its recently released title, a licensed game based on the Godfather franchise, which was released in early December on the Google+ social network.
But Chou, who joined San Francisco-based social games publisher Kabam in 2007 and is now the ripe old age of 31, firmly believes that the future for social games lies in catering to much smaller niches of people like himself -- hard-core players willing to spend hundreds of dollars a year on the right game. Chou is on the right track with his small-is-better strategy. Camelot scored $85 million in revenue between 2010 and 2011, while Dragons of Atlantis is projected to hit more than $50 million in revenue this year.
-- Alex Pham