McKinney-based game development studio Playful Corp. raised $5 million in a venture capital round, according to Crunchbase.
The capital raise joins a $25 million private round from October 2015, according to Crunchbase, totaling $30 million in funding for the 6-year-old company.
The recent $5 million round closed October 10 and is part of a larger Series A offering of up $30 million in equity Mark Stanley, president and Chief Business Officer, Playful Corp., told Dallas Innovates. He added the new capital will be “used to further fuel Playful’s team, and for continued development of a number of original IP projects that are currently in production.”
Before founding Playful, Paul Bettner created the online gaming sensation, Words with Friends. Now, Playful is known for Super Lucky’s Tale, a playground platform game available on Xbox One X, Xbox One, and Windows 10.
Video gaming is big business. Globally, the video games marketing in 2017 was $78.61 billion, and that’s expected to rise to over $90 billion by 2020, according to stats compiled by WePC. And, there are more than 2.5 billion gamers around the world.
Video games are also booming in North Texas, which boasts 87 gaming companies — almost a third of all gaming companies in the state, according to commercial real estate firm JLL. Only California has more gaming design and development studios than Texas.
Playful has been growing as well. Earlier this year, it began construction on a 53,000-square-foot office close to McKinney’s historic downtown and moved into its state-of-the-art development studio this week.
Anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the video game industry might be a little surprised at its market clout and massive global user base. But, where video games really stand out, is how the industry stacks up against other entertainment options.
The value of interactive entertainment
GameDaily.biz recently profiled Playful, pointing out that Pokémon is the biggest media franchise on the planet, besting brands such as Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, and Marvel’s various properties in revenue. Bettner told the site that he thinks the most valuable intellectual property will be coming from interactive entertainment, rather than traditional entertainment media sources.
“There’s no way that the most valuable IP 10 years from now doesn’t come from video games because it’s where everybody’s eyeballs are.”
“When we look at the IP that’s most valuable today, we can see that it came from TV shows, comic books, novels, film. There’s no way that the most valuable IP 10 years from now doesn’t come from video games because it’s where everybody’s eyeballs are,” Bettner said. “When you think about what the next Iron Man is going to be and really at that level of cultural penetration, that level of cultural awareness, it’s going to be video game characters 10 years from now.”
Earlier this year, Bettner told Dallas Innovates that success comes from having a long-term vision and sticking with it. He said success is never a straight line and he doesn’t how he’s going to get down that winding path, but, “If we have a vision that we believe in and we give it the time it needs, we’ll have success.”
This article was updated at 3 p.m.Oct. 31 to correct Playful’s funding to date including the 2015 round as private rather than Series B, and that the company did not have an $8 million round in 2012. An earlier update added details on the current funding round and the company moving into its McKinney studio.
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