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PlayFirst, Inc.
Industry Video game
Founded San Francisco (2004)
Founders John Welch, Brad Edelman, Jason Rubinstein
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Key people
Marco DeMiroz, CEO
Products Casual game
Parent Glu Mobile

PlayFirst, Inc. is a San Francisco-based publisher of casual games founded in 2004 by industry veterans. PlayFirst’s biggest commercial success to date has been its award-winning Diner Dash series,[1] which has seen over 550 million downloads, and is the gold standard of time management games.[2][3] The popularity of Diner Dash series prompted many spin-off series like Wedding Dash, Cooking Dash, and more. The company’s game portfolio also includes the retro-style strategy-based Chocolatier series,[1] and the popular adventure/hidden object-mixing Dream Chronicles series.[1]

From 2005 to mid-2011, PlayFirst have released 72 casual games for PC and Mac, counting extra 7 Collector's Editions and Strategy Guides, thus they have 79 games in total in their game categories.


2005–2010: Early days, breakthrough, and maintaining the success of Dash series[edit]

PlayFirst’s biggest commercial success to date has been one of its earliest released games, Diner Dash series, which was released for the first time on PC/Mac platforms in 2005. Diner Dash was initially developed by Gamelab, a New York-based casual game developer, and after foreseeing its huge potential, PlayFirst decided to buy the rights to own the game. The huge success and popularity of Diner Dash alone from the casual game critics and gamers alike prompted PlayFirst to continue releasing four sequels for a couple of the following years: Restaurant Rescue (2006), Flo on the Go (2006), Hometown Hero (2007), and the fifth BOOM! in 2010.

PlayFirst has also published Diner Dash across multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Facebook; consoles like the DS, Xbox, and Wii. PlayFirst games are available in major retailers and on more than 500 sites in 20 languages.

Many spin-off series and games like Wedding Dash (2007), Cooking Dash (2008), and Hotel Dash (2009) were released to maintain the popularity of Dash series. However, due to lack of creativity and fresh direction, they mostly earned lukewarm receptions from game critics and gamers.

Other non-Dash successful PlayFirst games includes the three-part, retro-style strategy-based Chocolatier series,[1] which was released during 2007 and 2009 in collaboration with Big Splash Games. The five-part, adventure/hidden object-mixing Dream Chronicles series was another highlight in PlayFirst's portfolio.[1] Released during 2007 and 2011 in collaboration with KatGames, Dream Chronicles was favored by both game critics and casual gamers alike. Diner Dash, Chocolatier, and Dream Chronicles are PlayFirst's most successful game series during their heyday of releasing casual games on PC/Mac platforms.

2010–2015: Cancellation of releasing on PC/Mac and new direction[edit]

In October 2010, it announced a focus on the mobile and social market after raising $9.2 million from investors, also cancelled releasing new casual games in the near future since Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries. PlayFirst's forays into the social gaming market have proven unsuccessful, as low user counts forced the company to cancel all of its Facebook games, Diner Dash and Chocolatier, not long after launching them.[4]

As of late 2010, the company employed more than 100 workers, but laid off an unspecified number of its employees in early December 2011 due to "restructuring". Other social games veterans who joined the company in late 2010 from Playdom and Zynga have also left; however, PlayFirst claims the layoffs will not change its emphasis on the mobile market.[4]

On October 8, 2012, PlayFirst emailed its subscribers informing them that the company will cease the production of PC and Mac games and move to a new website since November 12, 2012. The email read, "We have established a firm position as one of the leading producers for iOS mobile applications and are currently working on implementing our games into the Android marketplace," and that current games in its catalogue will still be available for purchase on the third party websites like Big Fish Games, GameHouse, and so on.

On September 3, 2014, PlayFirst was acquired by Glu Mobile. The official statement from Glu Mobile CEO, Niccolo de Masi, read "We are pleased to officially add PlayFirst to the Glu family and look forward to delivering new DASH products to a worldwide audience,"[5]

Published and/or co-developed on PC/Mac platforms[edit]

Published and/or co-developed on iOS platforms[edit]

Playground SDK[edit]

Playground SDK is PlayFirst's game engine. It is discontinued.


  1. ^ a b c d e Gamezebo (2008-07-25). "2008 Second Annual Casual Game Awards Winners". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  2. ^ BusinessWire (2010-02-18). "PlayFirst announces debut of Game-Changing Facebook Connect Integration in Diner Dash 5: BOOM!". BusinessWire. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  3. ^ Gamezebo (2011-01-25). "PlayFirst launches Diner Dash on Facebook". Gamezebo. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b Eric Caoili (2011-12-06). "Layoffs At Diner Dash House Playfirst". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  5. ^ PlayFirst (2014-09-03). "Glu Mobile Completes Acquisition of PlayFirst". PlayFirst. Retrieved 2014-09-03. 

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