Playtox, the Russian developer of free-to-play mobile browser-based games, has closed a $3 million Series A round of funding from VC firm Runa Capital. The company said it will use the funding to expand on the startup’s massively multiplayer online (MMO) titles “globally,” including the U.S., as well as in emerging markets.
Playtox has largely targeted Russia and other CIS countries to date — garnering 25 million registered users and chalking up 65 million hours of game play — in addition to launching in Southern Asia and Latin America. Along with international growth, the company says it plans to use the additional capital — its first external funding round — to further develop the HTML5-based technologies that power its MMO lineup. Current titles include World of Shadows, My Farm and Gangsta.
Unsurprisingly, the company is talking up its decision to shun native mobile apps and instead develop for the browser — despite the bad rap that HTML5 has gotten ever since Facebook’s Zuckerberg threw the technology under a bus. That’s because, by developing for the browser, Playtox says that its games are playable on “any browser/OS from any device,” including smartphones and feature phones, enabling it to be well-poised to cash in on the growing mobile gaming market, citing estimates that it’s currently worth $9 billion globally.
It also claims “strong revenue potential” based on not being locked into “app store dependence,” thus enabling new partnerships leading to faster growth.
On that note, Playtox says that its games are already profitable, attributed to 1 million monthly active users, which it expects to increase “rapidly” as it develops for new geographic regions. It’s also doubling down in Russia and CIS — thanks in part to a partnership with Opera Software that saw it become the browser-maker’s “chosen partner” for mobile browser games in the region.