PlayFirst Raises $16.5 Million in Series C Round

PlayFirst, an online publisher of casual games, has raised $16.5 million in a Series C financing round led by DCM. Existing investors, including Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners, also participated in the round. In addition to raising their Series C round, PlayFirst will be partnering with RockYou to enter the social networking space. The first game to be promoted via the Facebook platform will be Wedding Dash.

According to a statement, the partnership with RockYou will “enable the company to continue to expand its new business model of incorporating microtransactions into its popular games.” This sounds strikingly familiar to the strategy used by Buddy Media, the company that I broke the news about their first two rounds of financing via my AllFacebook blog. The partnership with RockYou appears to be centered around driving traffic to their first game on Facebook.

PlayFirst appears to be in direct competition with Miniclip who provides flash based games for the web. There are limited details about what “microtransactions” will be involved but I have a feeling that it will be some sort of reward system since, as John Welch, CEO of the company states, they have already integrated virtual goods into a few of their games including “Wedding Dash.” As Shervin Pishevar emphasized in my interview with him last week, social games are a rapidly expanding business.

It will be interesting to see how social gaming evolves over the coming months.