Casual games buck the crunch

Mike Butcher reports on TechCrunch UK that Playfish has rasied $17m in a second round of funding. In any climate, that would be a phenomenal 2nd round, but in the current financial situation, its absolutely extraordinary. It demonstrates how important gaming is to the next wave of innovation on the web. Forget the semantic web – its gaming that will lead the innovation of new interaction models, engagement and monetisation. Especially with stats like these:

“Playfish now has over 10 million monthly active users on Facebook (around 1.5 million daily) and two billion monthly minutes of play time in under a year.”

That last stat is astonishing. If I interpret it correctly (2bn minutes of play by users per month) then that is one *heck* of a lot of attention – comparable to the attention garnered by a broadcast TV channel. If that is still growing, and they can turn that attention into cash, then $17m will quickly look like a very cheap investment.

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