Playfire is a social networking application for video gamers. The app can track stats, track games, find discussions, videos, or news about games the user is interested in. Users may connect with friends by asking them to join or by using Facebook to invite them.
Playfire was founded in 2007 by Kieran O'Neill, Seb Hayes, and Ben Phillips. In February of 2012, the site reported that it hit the one million user mark. Between 50K-250K unique visitors are tracked on the site each month.
Apps such as gamerDNA and Raptr have more diverse tracking as well as recommendations based on the statistics. Raptr is stronger at realtime game play built into the application.
Once registered, the user is again offered the opportunity to connect with Facebook friends. This app will only use Facebook to retrieve the user's friends list. The user then chooses an avatar and theme for their account. A few choices are given for avatars: Barbie, Justin Bieber, Heroes, and Superman. The user may upload a custom avatar. Several themes are available to choose from. The user may choose to enter real name, gender, date of birth, and/or country, as well as whether to enter the information in the profile. The first notification includes next steps such as completing the profile, bringing gaming friends to the site via "Invites" page, and following and participating in "Game Buzz" about games the user is playing.
Game Buzz is a stream of user posts regarding specific games. Some are asking advice, some are invitations to join a game, opinions regarding specific games or systems are asked for or given. Some users even provide links to Youtube videos of them playing their games.
Game activity tracking is dependent upon the system used. XBox Live players have the most detailed tracking, including: when a game is played, when a game is played for the first time, when an achievement is unlocked, when the gamerscore increases, and when the bio is updated. A user with a PSN ID will be tracked when they earn new trophies as well as they type and number of each trophy earned. Steam ID users have individual gaming sessions timed, when a game is played for the first time, when an achievement is unlocked, and when a bio is updated. XFire ID allows tracking of length of gaming sessions and when a game is played the first time.
The app is relatively easy to navigate and link to players' gaming IDs.
To sign up for Playfire, users must first identify what gaming system they use: X360, PS3, PC, or Wii. Next, they are asked to provide Xbox Live Gamertag, PlayStation Network ID, Steam ID, and/or Xfire ID. Users must have at least one valid handle to proceed with registration, the Playfire system checks the networks for the handle. Users then choose their username, password, and enter a valid email address. Next, users configure which gaming friends they wish to follow. This will track new games that friends buy, when their scores beat the user's, their game reviews and comments and questions. Users may use Facebook to retrieve a list of friends if they wish. This step may be skipped.
The application is completely free to use.
Video gamers will certainly enjoy Playfire. The tracking features are handy, but the ability to network with existing friends as well as new users with similar gaming interests taps into the ever-growing social media arena. This niche is strictly for gamers, so they are sure to find users with common interests.