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Video games are undeniably popular. At least one person in 67% of American households plays a computer or video game. Additionally, gamers take their hobby seriously. This year, the average amount of time spent playing a video game rose to eight hours a week, a 10% increase from last year. It is no surprise, therefore, when investors choose to put their money in a company providing these addictive little digital diversions in our lives.
PlayFirst raised $9.2 million in a Series C round of funding, bringing the company's total round of funding to $31 million. Investors include Mayfield Fund, Trinity Partners, Comerica Bank, DCM and Rustic Canyon Ventures. Comerica's $4 million portion of the round came in the of debt financing.
For those unfamiliar with the company, San Francisco-based PlayFirst launched in 2004 and makes both mobile and social games which run on PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads and Facebook. PlayFirst's games include Diner Dash, which along with its sister titles Cooking Dash and Wedding Dash, have totaled over 100 million play sessions in 2010 alone. It's also garnered more than half-a-billion downloads. The company's Chocolatier game has more than 800,000 monthly active users.
PlayFirst provides a combination of free and paid games. Games in the above-mentioned Diner Dash series cost $2.99 on the iTunes app store. Chocolatier sells for $6.99 a download.
If you think that all of those games are being played by kids, you would be dead wrong. The face of the gamer has changed radically since the early days of the industry. For example, 40% of all game players are women, according to research by the Entertainment Software Association. This study also noted, that the average game player is 34 years old, with 26% of Americans over the age of 50 playing video games.
PlayFirst was not available for immediate comment.
(Images from PlayFirst)
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PlayFirst is a leading publisher focused on creating shared casual game experiences around lasting original brands. Committed to building casual gameplay rich in story and character, PlayFirst works with talented internal and external developers to bring mass market games to multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, mobile, handheld and console. The company's portfolio includes the world-renowned Diner Dash® franchise as well as top-selling games such as Wedding Dash™, Chocolatier™, and Dream Chronicles™.
Founded in 2004 by veterans of Internet portals, traditional games publishers, entertainment software, and technology firms, PlayFirst is funded by venture capital firms Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners.
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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users. Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist. The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.