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Benchmark Leads $7.4 Million Round in Live Games Platform PlayFab

160 games using PlayFab's tech are currently in development.

Edge of Reality / Loadout

It’s not enough to finish a game and sell it. These days, many games are expected to be both free and “live,” with online promotions, updates and events to draw players back in after they inevitably get distracted by something else.

PlayFab, a company that aims to make running live games easier, said today that it had raised $7.4 million in series A funding, on top of $2.5 million raised last year. Benchmark led the round; general partner Mitch Lasky is joining PlayFab’s board.

CEO James Gwertzman said 1,800 companies have registered with PlayFab to date, and 11 currently live games are using its tools, with 160 more in development. Eighty percent of recently registered developers work on mobile games.

And the other 20 percent? Gwertzman said PC games offer perhaps the most options right now for games-as-a-service, because they are both often or always online (like mobile devices) and, unlike mobile, have a lot of screen real estate for broadcasting things like in-game news.

Live free-to-play games on consoles, meanwhile, are “still in their early days” because they lack paid user acquisition tools that can jumpstart a new game’s player base, he said.

“You’re at the mercy of the platforms,” Gwertzman said. “You’re counting entirely on the console makers and your own virality to grow there, and that’s tough.”

The first console game using PlayFab’s services, Loadout, launched on the PlayStation 4 in December.

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