Playfire, a website through which gamers connect and share their playing prowess, is merging with a specialist game download retailer, in a small deal that may be a further sign of the social/commerce nexus.
The service is being acquired by Green Man Gaming, a two-year-old site that effectively sells “pre-owned” PC games by allowing game owners to deactivate and sell back their purchases.
Like rival Raptr, Playfire is a social network and entertainment tracker that lets console and PC gamers list titles they own, pipe in their playing progress and find new friends to play with (here is my profile). Founded in 2007, it claims over 100 million individual pieces of user data.
Green Man says Playfire “will allow Green Man Gaming to have a deeper relationship with its players”. It “will work on bringing its existing retail customers and Playfire users close together, leveraging its combined database of close to 1.5m core gamers with industry partners to deliver additional value and exclusives”.
That London-based Playfire should go to a small game retailer like Green Man and not the leading UK high street chain Game Group, which recently emerged from administration and desperately needs a digital strategy, is surprising.
Game Group, too, could have benefitted by using Playfire to become the glue between gamers, as well as their go-to shopkeeper. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten recently invested in Pinterest, similarly hoping the pinboard curation site’s social bent can stimulate e-tail purchases.
Playfire received a 2009 first funding round of $2.1 million led by Atomico with Michael Birch, Brent Hoberman, Lovefilm co-founders William Reeve and Alex Chesterman, and former EA COO David Gardner, it was reported at the time.
Playfire co-founder Kieran O’Neill stays aboard as a “consultant” and has a “significant” equity stake in the combined company.