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Viacom Buys Xfire For $102 Million 29

The New York Times is reporting that communications company Viacom has purchased the Xfire gaming network for $102 Million. From the article: "Judy McGrath, the chief executive of MTV Networks, which will oversee Xfire, said it would stay focused on building a community for game players, but its technology might be adapted for broader network services. Xfire has attracted four million users since it was introduced in 2004. Of those, one million are active and spend 91 hours each month using the service. The company sells advertising on its software and Web site, both to video game makers and to mass market marketers, including Dodge, Pepsi and Unilever."
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Viacom Buys Xfire For $102 Million

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  • The Article (Score:2, Informative)

    by metrunecs ( 956777 )
    Viacom to Pay $102 Million for an Online Game Service By SAUL HANSELL Viacom said yesterday that it had acquired Xfire, a Silicon Valley company that makes an instant message system used by video game players, continuing its quest to build Internet businesses focused on young people. The company, which is the parent of MTV Networks, will pay $102 million in cash for Xfire, which is privately held. Xfire makes a program similar to other instant message systems in that it lets users communicate with each o
  • by EaglesNest ( 524150 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:05AM (#15195896)
    "The company sells advertising on its software and Web site, both to video game makers and to mass market marketers, including Dodge, Pepsi and Unilever.

    I can't wait to be playing Quake 4 or FEAR and get fragged. Suddenly, rather than hear my opponent or teammate, I hear a disembodied voice say, "You got wasted! How about you clean yourself up with Lever 2000, the soap that gets bloodstains our of anything! For all your 2000 parts, no matter where the frags end up!"

  • As a games programmer and non-US gamer, I've never heard of this XFire lot until now. A quick look at their website doesn't give me a real idea of what it is that they do, anyone fancy illuminating me as to why someone would buy this company? :)
    • It's a gamers' chat software.. Seems like it's got a rather large user base which makes it a great place to advertise, no wonder a big firm buys it. Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:Erm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Imagine, if you will, a company founded on synergistic paradigm shifting. That's what Xfire brings to the Viacom table. Their action plan is mission-critical to the next steps in the challenges of off the shelf deliverables. They are a proactive platform of performance measurements in pushing the envelope to facilitate right-sizing solutions and strategies in the run up to knowledge transfer in video games. They are a goal-oriented, engaged, client-focused business on the same page as MTV and Viacom in
    • I'm a non-US gamer and our clan of ~30 use it. It basically acts as an IM but with the ability to "follow" friends into the server they are playing on online. So instead of several of us logging on to team speak to read out an IP address over and over until we've all heard it right we can just click "follow" and xfire launches the appropriate game into the same server as your mate. It has, however, got a GUI that looks like it was dropped at birth... this was initially the only reason some clan members ch
    • Being able to easily join your friends on a game server is nice, but what really attracted me to Xfire was the ability to receive and reply to messages while playing games. Most IM clients can't deal with that and will either leave incoming messages in the background (where you discover them upon exiting the game) or grab focus, abuptly returning you to the desktop.
    • I hadn't heard of XFire until a friend of mine pointed it out to me, and I'm a rather frequent online gamer. Basically it allows you to see what game and server your friends are playing on and by clicking their name then the join game button, allows you to immediately join their server. Also it has some minor voice chat if I remember correctly. But one of the best features is that the IM chat can be brought up as an overlay in the game you're playing by hitting a hotkey combo. You access everything with the
    • Xfire is an instant messenger whose only claim to fame is that it has an ingame interface, that overlays over your game and allows you to chat without alt-tabbing. It has a bunch of irrelevant features better done elsewhere, but that interface feature has made xfire a must have in the gaming community i play on - Battlefield 2.
    • I think that so far most of you are showing the general idea of what xfire does, but not some of it's main features. First of all, it saves all of the servers you visit with xfire-supported games, and lets you join them with a simple click. Xfire also allows you to download files (such as patches or gaming movies or demos, etc.) in a bittorrent-like file downloader, which works very efficiently. xfire also allows you to chat in-game, as many of you have said.
      What you haven't said (or at least that I've see
  • When they say said it would stay focused on building a community for game players, but its technology might be adapted for broader network services.

    what do you think that will entail? I am concerned about bloating.

    Xfire is an amazing program, and most people I know online use it constantly, but it's memory footprint has been growing far too quickly. Right now it's using 25MB RAM. For most people who run demanding games, this is a significant chunk of RAM.

    The only reason I have heard people not using t
    • I actually think the broader network services may be entirely unrelated to the current xfire application...there was a quote in an article written about Xfire a bit ago... "The company's aims to expand onto other platforms, including console games -- it is working on something for the PlayStation 3 -- and cellphones." http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/17/technology/fastfor ward_fortune/index.htm [cnn.com]
    • I'm betting that this will kill XFire within 12-18 months due to mismanagement by Viacom who will want to squeeze profits out of XFire by swamping it with ads.

      If you want to talk bloat, let's talk AIM which has become a very large CPU hog over the past 2 years. I used to leave AIM up and running in the background. It used to have a minimal memory footprint and never consumed CPU cycles. But lately, I've disabled it permanently due to all of the RAM/CPU that it was eating up *in the background while hid
    • Here's another reason: it frequently disconnects itself (doesn't like NATs?), and when it does so the program steals focus from whatever game I'm playing, even if they're in fullscreen mode. Honestly, you'd think a program aimed at gamers would be a little more clever about that sort of thing.

      I still use Xfire, because it's the only IM client that lets me keep in contact with friends when one or both of us is in a game, but I disable it if we're gaming together.
      • Xfire shouldn't steal focus on disconnect (doesn't for me or any of my friends), so you may want to swing by their tech support forums or something....they might want some info on it. Also, Xfire's never used more than 13 MB of RAM on my machine, and usually runs with about 8-10 MB. 25 MB sounds a little ridiculous, unless maybe you're operating as the voice chat host or something?
        • Techincally it's usually stealing focus at reconnect, and in Galciv 2, BF2, Oblivion and a host of other popular games. I'll get on their tech support forums some time I'm bored.
          • I have used it for a dozen full screen games, and have never it had it steal focus. Granted it has never had issues with my NAT boxes either. It has only disconnected twice, when the server was upgrading. But I don't think I was gaming then so I dont know what would have happenned.

  • Possible blunder? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zaguar ( 881743 ) on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @09:37AM (#15196067)
    What's to stop a company, or a bunch of disenfranchised users, creating a free alternative to XFire? I'm not familiar with the technology used, but it is a tracker that determines what game you are playing, when, isn't it? In that case, if Viacom choose to go with embedded ads/possible spyware and adware, then it would be almost trivial with a large community movement to create a "Y-Fire" without the ads, wouldn't it? So any revenue attempts by Viacom would lose them money. Bad move IMHO.
    • It's really not that complex. There is a guy out there who created something similar to XFire but it runs over Jabber. You can find it at http://goim.us./ [goim.us.] My only complaint about the software was it was created in Java which is a pain for RAM usage but if your C++ programmer you could piggy back on top of jabber and just have to create game monitoring system. Just no one has done it yet.
  • $102 per head customer acquisition cost?

    They'd better sell a shitload of advertising.
  • advertizers dream (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 9mm Censor ( 705379 ) * on Tuesday April 25, 2006 @11:13AM (#15196895) Homepage
    Its an advertizers dream. You get a system that narrows down a specific group of interested gamers, and it tracks what games people are playing, so you know what games people play, how much the play, and once you data mine that, you can target ads, based on what other gamers who are playing the same games.

    i would say for an established user base, and a decent technology, and a fat cheque for Thresh thats a good deal imo.

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