San Francisco-based casual game publisher and distributor PlayFirst has announced that it has raised $5 million in its Series B financing round, led by Rustic Canyon Partners. Existing investors, including Mayfield Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures, also joined the round, and as a result, Nate Redmond from Rustic Canyon will join PlayFirst's board of directors.
The firm originally formed in late 2004, with initial first round funding of $5 million from Mayfield and Trinity Ventures, revealing its intention to go "beyond the hardcore gamer" with a portfolio of Web-downloadable games.
The company is led by co-founder and CEO John Welch, formerly one of the leading lights behind Shockwave.com's gaming portal, and has experienced significant success with gameLab's casual title Diner Dash, as well as launching other games such as IGF winner Oasis and the new Egg Vs. Chicken.
"The casual games market is experiencing rapid growth and digital distribution has fundamentally changed the business model for content creators," said Rustic Canyon's Redmond. "PlayFirst stood out as a company that is playing a leading role in this emerging category, combining deep industry expertise with technological innovation and an unwavering focus on great gameplay. With a number of new, innovative content models in development, PlayFirst is in position to continue to shape the direction of this dynamic space."
The company's announcement also cited recent research by DFC Intelligence suggesting that North American casual gamers spent $241 million on downloadable games in 2005 and are expected to spend as much as $1.7 billion by 2009. PlayFirst plans to use the funding to expand its portfolio of award-winning games, roll out new technologies and increase its global reach and distribution.