They’re the names behind the games but not every video games company is a household name. Sure, we’ve all heard of EA, Valve, Epic Games and Activision Blizzard but there are hundreds of smaller – and sometimes bigger – companies you may not have heard of. Let’s take a look at some of the most successful video games companies which aren’t exactly a part of mainstream discussion.
Tencent Games is without a doubt one of the largest video games companies on the planet. The Chinese conglomerate was launched in 2003 to little initial success save for its messaging app, QQ. The company used that funding to transition into the video games sector, purchasing the rights to Dungeon Fighter Online in China, a game which crossed over $2 billion.
Since then, Tencent has invested heavily in a number of other, far better known companies. In 2011, Tencent acquired a majority stake in Riot Games before being fully acquired by the Chinese company several years later. Since then, Tencent have also purchased majority stakes in Miniclip and Supercell, as well as minority stakes in giants like Epic Games and Activision Blizzard. In May 2018, the company announced revenue of $11.5 billion.
Kabam is a mobile gaming company which was launched back in 2006 which specialises in so-called ‘freemium’ games. The term refers to games which are ultimately free to play, but put a strong emphasis on gambling and spending on virtual currency. Kabam has developed, acquired or distributed dozens of these titles but perhaps the best known of them all is Marvel: Contest of Champions.
The title features many of the most popular heroes in the Marvel catalogue and has tapped into the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the big screen. The game was a smash hit for Kabam and the company was sold in February 2017 for an estimated $800 million. Co-founder and CEO, Kevin Chou
Evolution Gaming started back in 2006. The company specialises in live casino products with games like roulette, blackjack and poker being sold as online platforms and land-based operators. Evolution is a business to business operator and counts some of the biggest names in casino and betting including Betway as its clientele. In 2018, the company was named Live Casino Supplier of the Year at the B2B Awards for a record ninth consecutive time and has seen its stock price increase seven-fold in the last three years.
You may not be familiar with the company but you’ll certainly know about some of their games. Zynga is an American firm which started back in 2007 and achieved widespread success with one of its first titles, Farmville. The company specialises in mobile and online multiplayer games and has released a number of other hugely successful titles like Words With Friends and Zynga Poker. This has led to considerable success and the company has since signed partnership deals with some of the biggest named companies on the planet including Hasbro and Disney which will allow many more titles in the years to come.
PopCap Games was created back in 2000 with an initial emphasis on online gaming. Their first title proved to be one of their most successful, Bejeweled but things only got better for the company after the acquisition of Sprout Games, the firm behind Feeding Frenzy. The hits just kept coming for the company, producing titles like Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, and Zuma. PopCap was acquired by EA in 2011 after achieving a revenue of $100 million in the year prior.
This Finnish company is something of a one-hit wonder in the video gaming world but there’s no denying that Rovio Entertainment’s best-known title is a winner. The company was started by three students back in 2003 and developed dozens of games before, in 2009, they finally created a winner.
Angry Birds was its name and the original viral mobile game has spawned over 20 spinoff titles in its wake. The company has also licensed its franchise out into a number of different television series and, more recently, a successful feature length movie which was produced by Columbia Pictures and took over $350 million at the box office.