Video game developer Kabam has seen the future of mobile gaming, and it looks a lot like a galaxy far, far away.
Kabam, the gaming darling with a billion-dollar valuation and the backing of Alibaba, this year said it would focus solely on creating console-quality games in what it called a "Fewer, Bigger, Bolder" strategy. A significant part of the push to put more resources into fewer games is licensing highly recognizable intellectual property like "Star Wars."
For the most part, the plan seems to be panning out.
Kabam has partnered with some of the most lucrative franchises in pop culture: Universal's "Fast & Furious," Warner Bros.' "The Hobbit," Lionsgate's "Hunger Games," and Disney's Marvel superheroes and "Star Wars."
Games based on those five franchises have earned a combined $433.4 million in revenue on Apple iOS and Google Android platforms from their launch through September, according to monthly metrics gathered by SuperData Research. "The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth," which debuted in November 2012, accounts for about two-thirds of that total.
It's latest game, "Star Wars: Uprising," debuted Sept. 10 and earned $1.9 million in revenue from iOS and Android devices in its first weeks in app stores.
By leveraging recognizable properties, Kabam is leaping one of the highest hurdles developers face: Attracting new players at a time when gamers have more options than ever and the cost of acquiring users is marching steadily higher.