Nick Hanauer and Rich Barton Start New Social Gaming Company “King of the Web”


Early Amazon investor and aQuantive founder Nick Hanauer is teaming up with Zillow co-founder and former Expedia CEO Rich Barton on a new social gaming venture, according to Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times.

The company, called “King of the Web,” will reportedly roll out in December. Until then, all we know is that the gaming startup will be part of the new wave of social gaming—a young canon that includes titles like FarmVille, and provides something of a hybrid experience between casual and metagaming.

Hanauer confirmed the plans for the company with The Seattle Times, but didn’t expand much on what the gaming startup will specifically be doing.

“Rich and I think it’s a really really cool idea. The space is really big and growing fast,” he told The Seattle Times. “Great content which entertains will for a very long time be a growth industry on the Internet.”

Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer

Rich Barton

Rich Barton

The Seattle-area has grown into a stronghold for casual gaming pioneers, such as like WildTangent, PopCap Games, Big Fish Games, and GameHouse (RealNetworks). But with the emergence of startups like Zynga (the maker of FarmVille and other popular social games), many casual gaming companies are struggling to stay relevant in the new social gaming space. In fact, even more traditional massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) have followed suit. Redmond, WA-based Novel rolled out the alpha of its first social MMO, Empire & State, last week.

As for “King of the Web,” Hanauer tells The Seattle Times the company is being started with the help of a group of aQuantive veterans, adding, “It’s definitely an idea where if it works it will be huge.”

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at or follow her on Twitter at Follow @

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