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Following a growing trend in online gaming and virtual worlds, PlayFirst recently expanded on its business model for PC title Diner Dash: Hometown Hero by adding microtransactions, social networking and personalization elements, and the company has

Leigh Alexander, Contributor

October 31, 2007

2 Min Read

Casual games publisher PlayFirst claims over 200 million downloads of restaurant-rush casual game Diner Dash, and the company says it's generated more than $35 million in consumer spending across all platforms. Recently, the company expanded on its business model by adding microtransactions, social networking and personalization elements into its latest title in the franchise, Diner Dash: Hometown Hero. Following a growing trend in online gaming and virtual worlds, Diner Dash: Hometown Hero enables players to purchase game items and standalone restaurants, customize their own characters and diners, and share their designs with others -- and the company says the endeavor has been a huge success. According to PlayFirst, in its first month, the full version of Diner Dash: Hometown Hero has out-sold any other PlayFirst game’s first month of web sales, indicating consumers’ continued demand for Diner Dash games. Moreover, 45 percent of all Hometown Hero customers are first-time PlayFirst purchasers, the company adds. 24 percent of these new purchases were for new expansion restaurant level packs, which add 10 new gameplay levels, and 12 percent of purchases were for avatar clothing, accessories and decor items, says PlayFirst. Finally, Diner Dash: Hometown Hero customers have, on average, bought 50 percent more game offerings than those who bought games that do not offer micro-transactions or level packs. PlayFirst CEO John Welch said, “The goal of Diner Dash: Hometown Hero is to offer a deeper, shared experience around a lasting, original brand such as Diner Dash, which would transform the casual game industry. We’re happy to give the Diner Dash community more of what they want: a fresh combination of story-driven gameplay, the ability to customize and accessorize, access to multiplayer, and the personalization and sharing features that PlayFirst introduced for the first time to casual games.”

About the Author(s)

Leigh Alexander


Leigh Alexander is Editor At Large for Gamasutra and the site's former News Director. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety, Slate, Paste, Kill Screen, GamePro and numerous other publications. She also blogs regularly about gaming and internet culture at her Sexy Videogameland site. [NOTE: Edited 10/02/2014, this feature-linked bio was outdated.]

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