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$9.2m funding for PlayFirst

By Alec Meer

Tue 12 Oct 2010 2:36pm GMT / 10:36am EDT / 7:36am PDT

Diner Dash studio looking to move further into social games thanks to VC help

PlayFirst, the US casual game developer/publisher behind the Diner Dash and Wedding Dash franchises, has secured a new $9.2 million in funding.

The money constitutes $5.2 million in venture capital (from existing investors including Trinity Partners, Mayfeld Fund, DCM and Rustic Canyon Ventures) and a further $4 million in debt financing from Comerica Bank.

The funding will be ploughed into PlayFirst's ongoing efforts to triumph in Facebook and social games.

Said Gus Tai of Trinity Partners, "PlayFirst, with its unique combination of best-selling casual game titles and emotionally engaging content, is well-positioned to thrive in today's quickly growing market for social and mobile games.

"We see tremendous market opportunity ahead and PlayFirst will continue to be part of that story."

PlayFirst has made only one foray into the platform of the hour thus far, with Chocolatier recently drawing 800,000 monthly active users. However, it has yet to adapt its highly successful Dash brand, which it claims drew 100 million play sessions this year, to Facebook.

CEO Mari Baker (who spoke to about the challenges of social gaming recently) hinted this was in the offing, however.

"This financing enables us to keep our focus on the opportunities in the mobile and social gaming sectors and provides the flexibility to quickly respond to changes and opportunities as the market continues to shift rapidly.

"With this capital, we will continue to aggressively optimize the PlayFirst brands that consumers love, like Diner Dash, to social and mobile platforms and look for growth through partnerships and potential acquisitions."

PlayFirst also this week announced the hiring of PlaySpan's chief marketing officer Eric Hartness as vice-president and general manager for social games.

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