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Varsity Challenge Hackathon

UBC Sauder/Kabam Games Varsity Challenge

About Kabam

Kabam is a world leader of developing entertaining, immersive, and highly social multiplayer games for mobile devices. They merge consumer behavior with the art of game design to create experiences that are enjoyed by millions of players across the globe. Each game has raised the benchmark in mobile gaming, bringing high‐quality graphics, next‐generation technology and revolutionary gameplay to the console in every player’s pocket.

Kabam has partnered with leading entertainment brands like Disney, Hasbro and Universal to create mobile games based on some of the world’s most iconic franchises. Kabam’s games have generated hundreds of millions of downloads globally including Fast & Furious 6: The Game, Fast & Furious: Legacy, Marvel Contest of Champions and Transformers: Forged to Fight.

Founded in 2006, Kabam is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, with offices in San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX. The company has doubled in size year over year since opening and currently has more than 350 employees. Kabam is a wholly‐owned subsidiary of Netmarble Games.

Kabam has earned numerous accolades for its games and its business. Recent awards include BC Export Award 2018 for Digital Media and Excellence, Gold Award 2018 for Best Mobile Site & App (Game category) from International Business Awards, Best Mobile Game 2018 from Mobile World Congress and Best Animation 2018 from Mobile UX Awards.

The Challenge


Kabam operates mobile games using the freemium model. While the game is free to play, purchase of virtual items can enhance player experience through gameplay and progression. An industry benchmark is 5% of players ever make an in‐app purchase, so game success relies on a fraction of players. A key success factor is getting players to make a purchase early and make purchases frequently.

Mobile games rely greatly on digital advertising for promotion and user acquisition. The cost of acquiring a player ranges greatly depending on the game but one report puts the average at $3.75, and considering 5% of players make a purchase the cost of a customer can be upwards of $75. User acquisition marketing is the greatest expenditure for many developers. Therefore, a key success factor is the ability to optimize the return on advertising.

In order to optimize advertising spend, the analytics team must identify as quickly as possible the value of a player so the return can be calculated and the User Acquisition Marketing team can re‐balance its advertising budget.

Teams will be provided a data set comprised of characteristics of game users, playing patterns and purchasing patterns. Teams will be asked to conduct data analysis and create an algorithmic model that reliably identifies users who will become spenders and determines their value. Models will be scored and the finalists will be determined by the highest scoring submissions. Finalists will make a presentation to a panel of Kabam executives. More information about the data set and submission requirements will be presented at the Kick-Off presentation.

March 1, 2019: Challenge Kick‐off Presentation @ UBC Sauder, Henry Angus Room 337 ( new location! ) from 4:15-5:15pm
This is an opportunity for you to learn more about Kabam, its business and challenges, and the Varsity Challenge in general. At least 1 team member must attend.

March 1 ‐ April 7, 2019: Individual group work phase

April 8 & 9, 2019: Optional Sauder “Hackathon” for the finishing touches of your final submission. 
Competition entries must be submitted by 5pm on April 9th which will be followed by a celebration at UBC Sauder!

April 23, 2019: Finalists presentations @ UBC Sauder from 12-2pm.

April 26, 2019: The Top 3 Finalist groups are invited for a Celebration Party @ Kabam’s Vancouver Office.


For any Challenge specific questions, please contact Sven Tapp, Head of Business Intelligence at Kabam.

For general inquiries, please contact Elisabeth Chin, Program Manager at UBC Sauder.

The challenge is to create a predictive model that estimates the value of users for one of Kabam’s hit games.