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Keeping games running online is a complicated task, and one of the companies that builds the tools that makes that easier for developers just got a significant injection of cash to expand.

PlayFab announced today that it raised $7.4 million in a series-A funding round. This brings total investment in the company to $9.9 million after about a year after its launch. The company provides game makers with cross-platform tools to keep live games running on PC, console, and mobile. These kinds of releases already make up 30 percent of the market, and PlayFab is working to serve them better than anyone else. Investment group Benchmark led the round, and its general partner Mitch Lasky will join the company’s board as a result. Series A also saw participation from Startup Capital Ventures, Orbitz chief executive Barney Harford, and PopCap Games cofounder Jason Kapalka. Providing tools to developers is a lucrative business — PlayFab expects this market to generate $108 billion by 2020, and it competes in this space with GameSparks and companies that operate their own back-end functions.

“We’ve learned over the last year that providing great technology isn’t enough,” PlayFab chief executive and cofounder James Gwertzman told GamesBeat. “There’s a big knowledge gap that needs to be filled. Game developers are shifting to live games, but operating a game effectively is still a bit of a dark art. This cash lets us invest in new tools and resources to make that a lot easier and help our developers not just save time and money, but actually make more money.”

Gwertzman also explained that PlayFab is looking to grow its team.


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“Especially our developer relations group, so we can accelerate the momentum we already have with customers,” he said. “And we’re expanding the ecosystem of partners we integrate with.”

The company also plans to bring on more engineers that will help develop new ways to make it “really easy to operate a live game more effectively.”

“This means better integrated business intelligence, more relevant reports out-of-the-box, easier promotions and events, and more,” said Gwertzman. “We also continue to expand our core underlying services — for example, just this week we’ve added new content-management services to facilitate on-the-fly game updates.

“We have an experienced engineering team that lives and breathes building awesome, scalable, backend systems,” he continued. “That’s all we do here, and we are tightly focused on building exactly what our game developers need to be successful. That’s what gets us excited, and as long as we keep doing that, we’ll continue to be the leading platform for live game operations.”


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