Introduction to Playco

Playco, a mobile gaming startup which is planning to introduces the instant games technology. The company’s aim is creating games that can be played without downloading the game. Thus, the startup wants the users to relish the experience web gaming platform. The game can be launched from a link and can be shared on social media platforms or can be played without downloading.

Playco Co-founders Takeshi Otsuka, Justin Waldron, Michael Carter and Teddy Cross. (L-R) Courtesy:
Playco Co-founders Takeshi Otsuka, Justin Waldron, Michael Carter and Teddy Cross (L-R). Courtesy:

Their main targets are platforms such as cloud streaming, iOS Clips, Google Play Instant, Facebook Instant Games and Snapchat Minis. The company has the headquarter in Tokyo, Japan. The startup is founded by Game Closure’s co-founder Michael Carter, Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron, executive producer at DeNa Takeshi Otsuka and web gaming producer Teddy Cross.

Takeshi Otsuka the former DeNA creator of Kaito Royale. The company generated around $1 Bn in revenue. He has worked for US many gaming companies. Cross has worked in South Korea.  On the other hand, Carter and Waldron shifted to Japan a few years back from US. Currently, Carter, Waldron and Otsuka are currently working from Japan whereas Cross is working from South Korea.

The Extravagant Funding

Even before the launch, the startup has raised around $100 Mn in the Series A funding. The company had some new investors participating in the funding process. Thus, bringing the company to a valuation of $1 Bn and giving it a ‘unicorn startup’ status. The company had originally raised $60 Mn but opened the round again for the intrigued investors. The investors of Playco include Sequoia Capital, Josh Buckley, Sozo Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, KSK Angel Fund, Mistletoe Singapore, Digital Garage, Dreamers and Makers Fund.

The Past, the Present and the Future

Playco Banner. Courtesy:
Playco Banner. Courtesy:

Before Playco, the founders ran another company called “Game Closure” founded in 2010. The company worked on creating multiplayer gaming technology. The company also changed its name to “Blackstorm” in 2017 to be consistent with the global branding. However, the founders believed that it was early for the company to come out since many browsers didn’t support HTML 5. So, Playco acquired some of the technology from Game Closure. A couple of employees from Game Closure also joined Playco while the others ended up leaving.

The ongoing pandemic has definitely created more opportunities for Playco to march on ahead. Along with that, the technology is evolving rapidly. The founders said that there is very low friction as the users can now share the game with others. Therefore, they focus on creating games which can bring the world together.

The Fortnite’s creator “Epic Games” accused Apple for breaking the antitrust laws by imposing a 30% fee to every app maker. Thus, making it easy to see the instant games industry move ahead of app stores. The founders stated that the instant games idea was appreciated by both Google and Apple. They also discussed about another issue regarding the instant games that are the ads asking the people to make purchases by downloading the entire game. Thus, they revealed that the users can now make purchases within the instant game. They have also declared that the startup will declare its games in the coming months.

The Japanese Connection

The Japanese gaming industry started in the 60’s and has been growing rapidly since then. Japan is the third largest games market in the world. All the great gaming companies such as Nintendo, Sony PlayStation and Sega come from Japan. The revenues of the gaming industry in 2019 was around $19 Bn, according to Newzoo The country has a high speed internet connection and enough data coverage. As per Globalwebindex, 50% of the internet users in the age group of 16 to 64 years play games on their smartphones.

The pandemic has further increased the number of online gaming players. On the Google Play platform, the top three markets that contributed to the gaming sales are USA, Japan and South Korea. Thus, mobile games are easier to promote and monetise for the foreign companies. Thus, Playco can benefit of having the headquarter in Japan. They can quickly capture the market with their instant game technology.


Sources: venturebeat ,Playco ,Digitalmarketasia

This research article has been produced by Investocracy, a company focused on connecting startups from emerging markets with Japanese investors.

Are you a startup looking for investment? Please reach out to us at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *