After creating Words with Friends in 2009, Paul Bettner said he saw the definition of the word “gamer” change. Games were no longer only for adolescent males, he said. Bettner, now the founder and CEO of Playful Studios, said he saw games could be made for everyone, including those who do not play traditional video games.
“I’d have people in my life, like my mom who’s still a player, and she would never call herself a ‘gamer’, and this word gamer was looked at like a negative thing,” Bettner said.
This led Bettner on a mission to bring joy and entertainment to people who did not traditionally fit the mold of a gamer.
“People understand we’re all supposed to play. Even as adults we’re supposed to play,” Bettner said. “And so I thought the best company name in the world would be Playful. … Ever since then [the name Playful] has so fulfilled its purpose as the name of the company.”
Playful Studios, previously called Playful Corp., began in 2013 in Historic Downtown McKinney. The independent game studio has created and released three games, including Super Lucky’s Tale and Creativerse. A fourth game, New Super Lucky’s Tale, was announced with the company’s rebrand in mid-June.
Bringing joy to the world one game at a time has always been Playful Studio’s mission, according to Bettner.
“I just love to bring joy to people through the entertainment that we create and the products that we build,” Bettner said. “So that’s what we mean when we say [something] isn’t playful enough. We mean it’s not yet evoking those emotions that we want our brands and our characters and our world to bring into the hearts of people.”
Playful is now located in its third office space in downtown McKinney. The company has more than 100 employees with 75 people officing at the company’s headquarters.
300 E. Davis St., McKinney
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.