In the world of Online Gaming, online blogs and forums have been developing and spreading the word of games. This review is about a site that has expanded upon the basic blog and forum format and looks to bring a new level of gaming to the community.
The site’s features can be broken down into 3 main elements:
- The Personal Aspect
- The Friends/The Network
- The Interaction with Games
The Personal Aspect
A big part to any social network and the first building block is the personal profile. It’s shows off the users of the site in different ways, through choice of background (in the example screenshot, Mirror’s Edge is shown), to the name of the profile. This is what an average profile gives you but the most interesting feature in the profile is in the Games and Achievements sections. The site tracks gameplay and logs the details for the user to use in several different ways. This ability to track is backed by an amazing software program (and supporting hardware) to give the extra ability that is not found on most sites.
This makes tracking achievements easy for the user, and the ability to compare and contrast to others begins the second major category – The Friends / The Network.
The Friends Or The Network
Having Friends on the site already is a huge advantage, having the ability to begin/keep up a friendly rivalry is key to the fun at times. Having the ability to look at friends achievements gives that extra competative edge to keep competition high.
Another aspect to the profiles is the way it categorised the games, being able to track what friends are buying or on their wishlist to play means, co-ordinated buying meaning more co-op fun. The ability to network with ease, is an good aspect to the site, not having to communicate that the certain games the user is after is also wanted by their 2 of their mates, with the site 4 or more might be influenced to buy it.
The Interaction with Games
Each game has a profile on the site, showing details, videos and peoples’ opinions on the games. The simple stuff like Game details and screenshots show the game off to the members of the site. If some person in a user’s network has the game the ability when in a person’s profile to click on it, to then get details about it is a good element of the site.
It also links in what the “Games Buzz” is, underneath the screenshots there is a list of the latest thoughts of people playing the game. For the example of FTL, one of the thoughts say ” Well it took me 34 hours (*grumble*) but I finally beat FTL!”, and with the addition of an online leaderboard to most of the games, the user can see where they are in the world. Even if the network of people is not known to the user personally, it gives the user the opportunity to interact with the fellow player, to ask for help or to say that they have overtook them.
A downside to the game profiles is an obvious thing, the bigger games have bigger profiles, and the smaller games tend to only have a very basic amount of information in them. They are still looking to develop it, but obviously so many games so little time. The bigger games profiles look intriguing and contain useful information to help you get past levels or find that extra friend to add to your network.
The website is a good gaming community site with tons of improvements from the site’s look and feel from two years ago.
This site will be good to use for a gamer who wants to use something different to the normal social media – facebook and twitter, with the extra feature of tracking it have a unique pickup point.
Using its audience to help is also a good thing, the forums and blog sections are there to give information to the user, so known issues can be easily talked about. One issue at the moment is that next generation games from the Xbox One and the PS4 are not tracked, the site is aiming to get them but at the moment are not in the pipeline. Knowing the reasons behind it, it is good of them to say, it is going to get sorted but the priority is currently to update the “Steam” tracking software.
One thing not included in the review and needs a mention is the site’s connection to the E-Commerce Site “Green Man Gaming”. Green Man Gaming offer a similiar service to the PC main e-commerce platform “Steam”. The connection between Green Man Gaming and Playfire has started to bring newer ideas to the forefront on both sites.
The new “Playfire Rewards” idea is currently in BETA. This gives users of Playfire the opportunity to earn small amounts of money by playing games. Meaning if you earn 300 achievements/trophies, a new game may be able to be bought.
Overall, the Playfire website is a good community building platform for the gaming community. With the tracking of games up, barring the issue with “next gen” they are focused on fixing, the site has a good niche feature for the online gamer to latch on to.
Upon the attachment to the Green Man Gaming Site, it becomes an even better opportunity for the gamer to be a member of a good community site, and to also save money on games.