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Summary:

PlayCafe, a company we uncovered last year, is expanding its live game show offerings, raising funding, opening a studio in Los Angeles, and has hired a producer with experience at Endemol and CBS. PlayCafe produces an interactive weeknight online game show, with a live host reading […]

PlayCafe, a company we uncovered last year, is expanding its live game show offerings, raising funding, opening a studio in Los Angeles, and has hired a producer with experience at Endemol and CBS.

PlayCafe produces an interactive weeknight online game show, with a live host reading questions, chatting with players, and commenting on the game. It is expanding from two to four hours next week, running 5 to 9 p.m. PT. The company, which is also making an embeddable widget version of its games, boasts an average playing session of 86 minutes, with 250 to 300 players per night. Prizes range from an iTunes song to $1000 cash.

Playcafe CEO Mark Goldenson has a pretty convincing rationale for his venture. “When I look at the landscape of Internet content, it’s mostly passive content,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s great that I can watch Lost whenever I want, but it’s not interactive or social. [Meanwhile,] the main use of live streaming has been life-streaming, like Justin.tv or Chris Pirillo, and I just don’t think that’s compelling, and I think that’s borne out by the viewership.”

Goldenson said 10 to 20 percent of PlayCafe visitors just watch the game rather than playing themselves, which is interesting in and of itself, but especially when compared to television game shows.

We’d heard elsewhere that First Round Capital had made an investment in the company, which Goldenson confirmed, though he declined to state the amount as he said the funding round is still open. While we think this is a cool idea, we’re surprised the company was able to raise cash with such low user numbers. But Goldenson and his partner Dev Nag have had success with previous startups, and also have PayPal and Google on their resumes.

Goldenson, who said the company’s goal is to run games around the clock, vouched that newly hired producer Jon Lawrence, who ran Take the Cake and Midnight Money Madness for Endemol, will bring a “better look and feel” to the site. Goldenson called the current set-up (see embed above) “authentic but not very sophisticated.”

Last week we wrote about another funded startup looking to combine casual gaming and web trivia, but that one’s called PopJax, and does on-demand trivia games rather than live shows.

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  1. Streamed Gameshow PlayCafe Takes Funding Monday, March 17, 2008

    [...] According to NewTeeVee, PlayCafe is expanding from two to four hours next week, running 5 to 9 p.m. PT. The company boasts an average playing session of 86 minutes, with 250 to 300 players per night. Prizes range from an iTunes song to $1000 cash. The companies goal is to run games 24/7. [...]

  2. ChicagoKelly Monday, March 17, 2008

    PlayCafe is the greatest!!!!

  3. PlayCafe has introduced me to a whole new realm of people, (who I know consider friends) that I can talk to while playing and also help play the game. The games are crazy fun and although I’ve yet to win, I still play everynight if only for the entertainment! Thank you PlayCafe for introducing me to a new group of friends and a good laugh or two, or several every night!

  4. Terbaik.Net » Blog Archive » Streamed Gameshow PlayCafe Takes Funding Monday, March 17, 2008

    [...] According to NewTeeVee, PlayCafe is expanding from two to four hours next week, running 5 to 9 p.m. PT. The company boasts an average playing session of 86 minutes, with 250 to 300 players per night. Prizes range from an iTunes song to $1000 cash. The companies goal is to run games 24/7. [...]

  5. Palycafe and Joost live would be a awesome fit

  6. TechCrunch Japanese アーカイブ » オンラインストリーミングのゲームショーPlayCafe、資金調達 Monday, March 17, 2008

    [...] NewTeeVeeによると、PlayCafeは時間枠を現在の2時間から来週にも4時間に倍増して、太平洋時間午後5時から午後9時まで放映の予定という。PlayCafeでは現在毎晩平均して86分間のゲーム・セッションに250人から300人のプレイヤーが参加しているという。賞はiTunesの1曲から$1000のキャシュまでさまざま。同社の目標は1週7日24時間ゲームを放映しつづけることだそうだ。 [...]

  7. Guitargeek21 Monday, March 17, 2008

    Playcafe really is the fun of the internet, Great staff members including Alrik, Collin, Katie, Daniella in which you all see almost every weeknight. The Co Founders Mark and Dev, totally awesome guys, thank you. And of course Chad, everyone loves Chad Mosher, known for being the first special guest, a great trivia question writer, and now the King Kong of the Leaderboards! And the contestants, totally hip crowd, there is a little of everything on playcafe, so just do yourself a favor and play!

  8. This is the most awesome after work release there is on the web. Also all of the cast members are down to earth and very real people. They aren’t stuck up and they all know how to interact with real humans and real human issues. I’ve made lots of great friends on playcafe including players and the cast and I can think of no better way to spend the hours of 6pm and 8pm pst when I can when work isn’t calling..Also Alrik is the man. He’s the coolest cat in the world…Holla.. NOMAD2174. I’m a regular and they know me..

  9. The Live Web – Is This TV2.0? « MyMediaMusings Monday, March 17, 2008

    [...] proceedings to deliver live and on-demand video directly to subscribers’ desktops.Then, over on NewTeeVee, there is a look at a site called PlayCafe:”PlayCafe produces an interactive weeknight online [...]

  10. Wow ! Fantastic news ! What progress you guys are making ! You know I love the game, the interaction, and you guys ! This type of gaming, I believe to be the wave of the future and I really feel fortunate to be somewhat on the groundfloor for once ! So ~ Keep it up ! It’s soooo addicting, I’m not sure I’d know what to do with my evenings if it weren’t for you guys and the rest of the playas :) Thanks for all you do ! Congrats on the funding !

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