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PlayFirst makes undisclosed number of layoffs

Diner Dash publisher sheds staff after difficult period

A restructuring process at casual and mobile publisher PlayFirst has left an unspecified number of employees out of work, although the company has refused requests for any further details.

PlayFirst is best known for Diner Dash, which has seen over 550 million downloads worldwide but was pulled from Facebook in July after falling audience numbers meant that it was no longer commercially viable.

"We view this as a strategic redistribution of resources to platforms where we see better growth potential and those are the mobile platforms, specifically iOS," said PlayFirst founder and CEO Mari Baker at the time. The company had pulled its only other Facebook title: Chocolatier earlier in the year.

Having raised several successive rounds of funding in the years since its 2004 foundation, PlayFirst had announced a new focus on social and mobile markets, but failed to establish itself as a major player in the space. However, PlayFirst has told press that the layoffs will not affect this plan.

"Our future plans are to continue to focus on the mobile casual gaming space," VP of marketing Katie Kihorany revealed in a statement released to Gamasutra.

"Part of this focus means continually making sure that the organization is structured to allow us to focus on creating those great games. Unfortunately, sometimes that means restructuring, so that we can better achieve this goal."

PlayFirst had secured a number of high profile executive signings from within the industry, including EA's Mitali Pattnaik and others from Playdom and Zynga. Many of these hires have since moved on, including Eric Hartness, who had been promoted to lead the company's social and mobile development.

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Dan Pearson