Social Networking for Gamers

Some interesting news today (found via Wonderland who linked to Gamespot, who referenced the original BusinessWeek article, which I won’t link to because I’m not a fan of content that you need to sell your soul to read): Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster, is turning his talents to online gaming social networking.

This is quite interesting to me personally, as my non-WoW time is spent as the Web Director of a new social networking startup that plans to incorporate a 3D MMORPG-type environment for use as a social space as well as a game environment. Virtual worlds, virtual personas, and the dynamics of relating to online friends in a game environment are what I originally signed up to write here.

And with that, skip to the (possibly) boring stuff…

I’ve been thinking a lot about social networking as it relates to gaming, specifically to games that we spend as much time in as we tend to in Warcraft. The relationships that I’ve formed with guildmembers, the things that I’ve learned about responsibility and teamwork as a member of a semi-hardcore raiding guild, have lead to ideas that I am trying to incorporate into the site that I am working on. MySpace has been done…what might be the next step would be the site as game, where the line between the two has been blurred. But that’s my pet project. ;)

BusinessWeek Online is reporting that Fanning is planning to introduce Rupture, “a virtual social community for online gamers,” sometime in the near future. The idea reportedly stemmed from Fanning’s own troubles with communicating with other World of Warcraft players.

The MySpace for Azeroth will pull data directly from WOW and publish stats and information on a personalized page. Gamers will also be able to instant message while playing, as well as track the progress of their guilds and organize playing time with their online buddies.

What a gorgeous idea. My profiles on various sites reflect my interests, of which Warcraft is of course a strong one. A site that ties together my networks (friends list, guild, realm server, class discussions, etc.) to make it easier to schedule runs, find kindred souls to play with, search content on player blogs, host my galleries of screenshots, etc., would be great. Warcraft Social Network is doing something similar; I haven’t had a chance to check that site out yet, but I do know that a lot of people on the various communities that I frequent have joined.

I’m sure that most of us are familiar with Joi Ito, and the guild that he founded, We Know – if only from the Is World of Warcraft the New Golf? article. In an CNET article on gaming, social networking and the future of collaboration, Joi stated “Because we have a lot of IT geeks in our guild, a lot of us are now focused on building guild management tools, which I think is going to be a key part of the guild eventually.”

Collaborative and networking spaces are going to be huge in the near future…it seems the natural next step. Is this something that you will find useful? A bit silly – doesn’t apply to you? Or are you, like me, very much looking forward to being able to tie your virtual Warcraft life together with your other online personas and collected personal material?

I’m looking forward to it.

1 Comment so far

  1. Dreadmoon (unregistered) on December 6th, 2006 @ 9:08 am

    I like the idea behind rupture very much. Wow has become my main activity out of the daily work duties, and the part I like the most about WoW has to do with the social aspect of the game.

    This interest has grown to a point where my first blog is WoW based.

    Besides all that, I am a proud officer of We Know which probably means a future user of Rupture ;-)

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