Playfire, a social network designed entirely for console and desktop video gamers launched in 2008. That makes it one of the older social networks, but unlike others of its ilk it has not rested on its laurels. Last year they re-worked the site to run entirely on automatically tracked data. Literally speaking, users can create a profile once and forget about it, allowing the site to track all their in-game activity. Their profile then delivers to them in-game stats, custom themes, favorite genre graphs, favourite games and many other features. This week they’ve hit a new milestone with a million users.
Now, that might not sound like a lot, but you have to remember that this is a different environment to the web. Playfire tracks what gamers are playing on Xbox Live, PlayStation 3 and the PC and is one of the only companies in the world to have the technology to do that.
To use Playfire is very simple – you just enter your username or Xbox Live, PS3 or Steam. They then download all of the game data and track it every few hours from then on.
Raptr, which has raised raised $27 million in funding, is the only other company which can do similar things. But despite raising ten times more cash than Playfire, the latter is bigger, according to Compete. In addition Raptr doesn’t have full PS3 tracking, but Playfire does. That puts them in a pretty unique spot.
Playfire has raised $3.1 million from Atomico and angels including Michael Birch and William Reeve.
Currently Playfire collects data on everything gamers do in games. That amounts to 800 million pieces of data.
As CEO Kieran O’Neill told me: “There are so many different ways of using this to improve the lives of gamers: knowing what they like just by how often they play certain games, and using that data to find games they’ll love but haven’t heard of. We sit at the center of an industry where $50 billion is spent per year. We’ve had quite a lot of interest from games publishers and developers who are keen to work with us to use that data to build better games.”
Mainly gamers like building a cross-platform timeline to show off their games and achievements, following what their friends are playing and having banter over who’s better, and getting recommendations for which game to play next.
Players can be notified of new discussions, videos, news stories etc for the games they care about. They can follow friends and online buddies, and stay up to date with what their friends are playing, saying and doing. Privacy is controlled on the game console itself. Most people make it public as none of it is private or sensitive information, but it’s easy to turn it off.
Playfire was founded in 2007 by Kieran O’Neill, Seb Hayes and Ben Phillips.