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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 5, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Hanauer, Barton starting new Seattle game company

Two high-profile Seattle tech investors are starting a new social game company called “King of the Web” that will launch in December.

The company is being started by Nick Hanauer, an early investor in Amazon.com and founder of aQuantive, and Rich Barton, the former Expedia chief executive and co-founder of Zillow.

Hanauer confirmed the venture but provided few details, saying the company will come out later this year.

“We’re sort of in development mode right now and we’ll launch in December,” he said. “Rich and I think it’s a really really cool idea. The space is really big and growing fast.”

Social games — including multiplayer games played via social networks such as Facebook — are a big business with hundreds of millions of players. Business hits include Zynga, which raised $520 million, and Playdom, which was sold to Disney for $563 million in July.

Google and Apple are also working to build up games on their desktop, tablet and mobile platforms.

Hanauer said there’s still more opportunity for new social-game companies.

“Great content which entertains will for a very long time be a growth industry on the Internet,” he said. “We think we have an idea that can create some really really great content.”

The company is being started with a group of veterans from aQuantive, he said.

“It’s definitely an idea where if it works it will be huge,” he said. “It’s a big idea.”

Comments | More in | Topics: Games & entertainment, king of the web, nick hanauer

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