The Internet has added an extra dimension to video gaming: You don’t have to be in the same room with someone to go on a Xbox shooting rampage together, or play Scrabble, or whatever. The problem: How do you know when your friends are at their computers or video game consoles playing a game so you could join up?
That’s where new social network Raptr, launching today, comes in handy: It helps track the games you play on your computer and on the three major video game systems — Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii, and Sony’s PS3 — and lets your friends know what you’re up to. For instance, it could alert them if you log in to Halo 3 and start playing, so they can join in. And then if you get enough kills to move up a skill level in the game, it will tell them that too. It’ll also hook in to Facebook or Twitter to send out alerts, which should help make it more useful while Raptr grows.
Like most other social networks, Raptr is hoping to make money by selling ads and sponsorships. One potential advantage: Advertisers already know you’re into spending money on video games, so getting game companies to advertise should be a gimme. Founder Dennis Fong says the company will also be announcing some deals soon to bundle Raptr software with some PC games.
In February, Raptr raised $12 million from Accel Partners and the Founders Fund. Fong sold his last social network for gamers — XFire — to Viacom in 2006 for $102 million.
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