GameStop , the world's largest game retailer, has acquired Kongregate , a free online game aggregator that aggregates independent games, as well as producing some of its own, such as the steampunk MMO Remnants of Skystone , developed for Kongregate by Flipline Studios.
Kongregate's 10 million monthly visitors socialize and compete via its access to over 30,000 games. Players earn badges and levels through playing and can compare scores and achievements. Game developers can test out games by uploading them to the site and sharing in the advertising and micro transaction revenue they generate, while retaining rights to the game. Players can purchase "Kreds", virtual money that can be spent on power-ups and special items, and also tip the developeres of their favorite games. This business model has allowed the company to grow rapidly, particularly in its sale of virtual goods, which it says currently makse up a third of the company's total revenue.
Kongregate wlll continue to operate independently from its San Francisco stores, but GameStop will be marketing congregate to the customers of its 6000-plus physical stores. Kongregate is looking forward to being able to draw on GameStop's resources to speed production and improvements, and also plans to integrate GameStop's PowerUp rewards program for its customers.
The news has been received on the Kongregate forums with mixed emotions by its users, but most seem to be looking forward to seeing what a GameStop-partnered future will bring.