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Big Fish, PlayFirst Partner As Casual Consolidation Continues

Casual game developer-publisher Big Fish is expanding its alliance with fellow casual firm PlayFirst, as BigFish takes over running PlayFirst's game distribution so the latter can concentrate on development.
Casual game developer-publisher Big Fish is expanding its alliance with fellow casual game company PlayFirst, as the two ink a multi-year affiliate agreement tied to their online presences. Through the partnership, Big Fish will provide e-commerce and customer support for PlayFirst's distribution portal, while PlayFirst -- which is looking to concentrate on development and leveraging its franchises across multiple platforms -- gets access to Big Fish's 2,500-strong title game catalog. Big Fish is already PlayFirst's exclusive third-party launch partner -- its customers get first access to new PlayFirst titles, which include the Diner Dash, Chocolatier and Dream Chronicles franchises. PlayFirst, which has now begun specifically billing itself as "a leader in interactive entertainment for women", will continue its expansion beyond the PC downloadable casual games generally showcased on its portal. Continuing alliances among market-dominant developers and publishers represent further consolidation in the casual games business. The aptly-named Big Fish has acquired smaller companies in recent years, like Grubby Games and MMO developer Thinglefin. "We have an excellent relationship with PlayFirst – one cultivated over several years of partnership," says Big Fish president and CEO Jeremy Lewis. Adds PlayFirst president and CEO Mari Baker: "This agreement allows us to focus on continuing to develop and publish best-selling games while at the same time creating a better experience for our customers on PlayFirst.com."

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