King Digital is to open a second London studio this summer, taking over the Covent Garden office currently occupied by Facebook.
With around 80 people per studio, the games developer is expected to increase its UK workforce to around 160. The Anglo-Swedish company is using the $330m (£196m) raised in a New York stock exchange listing in March to recruit designers and speed up the creation of new games.
It is developing a sequel to Candy Crush Saga , which became the most profitable smartphone game ever last year. A sequel to its first Facebook and smartphone title, Bubble Witch, Bubble Witch Saga 2, has been released for iPhone and Android.
The investment comes as the British government extends the tax credit system that boosted Hollywood and domestic film and television production in the UK to the games industry. King already has seven games studios based in Stockholm, Malmo, Bucharest, Barcelona and Berlin.
"The UK is great for startups," said King's CEO, Riccardo Zacconi. "This new incentive for the games industry is great because I believe that – like we did – from the UK you can conquer the world."
In recent years, the British games sector has seen studios closed and jobs lost as international developers moved their workforces to countries offering tax breaks, such as Canada.
King's decision to open a second studio in the UK is not connected to the tax relief, but it may be a benefit. The government scheme is expected to provide £35m a year of support to games developers, according to industry lobby group TIGA.
Companies making games using British teams and facilities, with culturally British content, will be able to claim cash back equal to 25% of qualifying production costs.
King games are played 1.4bn times a day, with 97 million people a day trying their hand at Candy Crush Saga, the confectionery-themed game where players have to make sweets explode by lining up three or more of the same colour. With 352 million unique users a month, King says more people play its games than live in the United States.
King's new studio will be based in a brick warehouse at 42 Earlham Street in Covent Garden, home to Facebook's British staff and its European boss Nicola Mendelsohn since 2012. Facebook wants to double its headcount from 250 to 500 and has taken a lease on 10 Brock Street in Euston, which will also house Twitter and Debenhams.
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