GamerDNA is one of many social network for gamers. But now, thanks to Boston-based Flybridge Capital Partners, the company behind it has $3 million of Series A funding to make it stand out from the pack.
Formerly known as GuildCafe.com, a community site for fans of Guild Wars and other PC-centric MMORPGs, GamerDNA Inc. will use the funding to expand that audience base to include console players and others who fit into the broader hardcore gamer category. Or as CEO Jon Radoff describes them, people who enjoy “games that create memories.” I spoke with Radoff and Jon Karlen, general partner of Flybridge, late yesterday, and my main question was: With so many gamer social networks out there already, what makes this one special?
For Radoff, the explosion of social networks is the problem — he argues that gamers aren’t really looking for lists of friends so much as a site that lets them preserve and extend the experience of their favorite titles, and to participate in affiliations of fellow fans. GamerDNA, which currently gets nearly a million monthly uniques — double that of March, according to Radoff — will give them tools to document and annotate their favorite gaming moments with screenshots and more. The company will also import publicly available player data from Xbox Live, World of Warcraft Armory, and elsewhere to help suggest user groups and new games they’ll like based on past player history.
Unlike an Amazon-like list of past games purchased, Radoff says they want to dig deeper, to find out “what people really love about games.” Game-related quizzes and tests will also be a fun way of generating that kind of data. “We’ve been called the eHarmony of gaming,” he says chuckling, “though I’m not sure how I feel about that since it’s not by any stretch of the imagination a dating site.” The similarity is in the forming of affiliations — but with the end result not flirting, but fragging.
For revenue streams, Flybridge’s Karlen mentions tournament sponsorships and affiliate marketing deals among the chief channels. As an investor, he cites the enthusiasm and willingness of gamers to spend lots of money on their hobby, especially compared with music fans, who often expect their tunes for free. That plus the growing mainstream appeal of gaming: “When my wife comes home from a party and says she played Rock Band there,” he says laughing, “you know it’s getting big.”
Image credit: gamerdna.com