Gaming social network Xfire has been bought from its previous owner, Viacom's MTV Networks, by competitive game firm Titan Gaming, which will use the service to support the prize-driven game tournament service it's building.
Titan is a fairly new company that's aiming for a similar space to mogul Richard Branson's newly-announced Virgin Gaming
, and the Xfire acquisition points to increasing attention to competitive gaming.
Xfire is a free downloadable application that offers PC gamers a social interface for thousands of titles, plus services like video and screen capture, friend tracking and matching, and voice chat. It keeps count of its userbase on its official website
and claims 16,725,840 registered users as of press time, with 171,992 online concurrently as of press time.
It launched in 2003, and was purchased by Viacom in 2006 for $106 million. Its footprint seems to have diminished in recent years alongside the rise of integrated download and social platforms like Valve's Steam, and it's unknown how much Titan Gaming paid to assume ownership of the service -- Titan has raised just over $1 million in funding to date.
General manager and co-creator Chris Kirmse indicated in a comment on the official website that "most of the team that has brought you Xfire for the last 6 years is leaving, including me" -- his note was later removed, but not before being captured by websites like CNET
Titan is focusing on opportunities for in-game betting, skill-based matching and tournament competitions -- the original aim of Xfire when it started up, although as Xfire evolved, it was its social interface, instant messaging and file-sharing that became the primary business.
"Titan will be taking on the Xfire name, with a focus towards ongoing innovation in the gaming space," says the company in a statement on Xfire's site. "The Xfire services will continue uninterrupted for its users. Xfire redefined how gamers communicate, Titan intends to build upon this tradition and utilize the Xfire platform to help gaming companies better engage their users. We look forward to continuing and expanding upon the Xfire service."