Player.me is a social community tool for those in the gaming industry, whether they’re players, content creators, developers or audiences. The platform helps them connect with each other to discover content and game that they might be interested in.
Last year, SplitmediaLabs, makers of the XSplit broadcasting software, acquired Player.me was acquired along with the tournament management service, Challonge, and the overlay service, Strexm. The first result of that acquisition was revealed at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in the form of a new Player.me desktop application that streamlines both content discovery and creation.
“What we’ve built here as a desktop app that integrates everything Player has but with the additional feature set of being able to stream from the app itself and create content,” said Sean Fee, chief product officer at SplitmediaLabs. “It’s a content creation platform with community tools embedded into it.”
The app is divided into three different sections, the first being Connect, where users go to meet with others players and post updates, which are then organized into different feeds. Then there’s Create for making content and Discover for finding streams, videos and other content along with player groups in addition to posting game reviews. Social updates can be cross-posted to other channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Twitch. But Fee explained the benefits of posting to the Player.me platform. “The beauty of Player is that everything is gaming related,” he said. “Anything about gaming goes.”
There are over 50,000 games with their own pages on the platform, and each one is curated by the community, which also creates the custom game pages. Users can also customize their profiles from the desktop app and connect multiple accounts from Twitch, YouTube, Steam and others. “We pull in their game library and their content [into the profile] and we allow them to cross-post to every kind of platform that a gamer might use,” said Fee. “You could put a link on your profile so that users can find you on those other services.”
The streams and videos users find in the Discover section are based on their individual profiles and tastes. However, there is a Featured area that Player.me manually updates with high-quality content. However, the ultimate goal is to build machine learning into the system so that the platform can learn about the users’ interests as they interact with the platform.
“One of the things that we think is a major issue in the market right now is discoverability,” said Fee. “Discoverability is really tough. It’s hard to get noticed as a content creator, game developer or player. So, one of the things that we want to do is help people find what they’re interested as quickly as possible and enhance their overall game experience by having them less spend less time making mistakes in terms of choosing games that don’t suit their personality. We want to make the platform feel personalized. If you’re into anime, it’ll feel like an anime community. If you’re into first person-shooters, it’ll feel like an FPS community. We tailor the experience to the kind of player you are.”
Eventually, users will be able to discover the games and content that best suit them according to criteria such as genre and platform, and the ratings are dynamic according to the user’s profile. Meaning that, if you’re not a big fan of MOBA games, it’ll show scores from people who think similarly. “You’ll be able to see the highest rated first-person shooter for PS4 that suits your personality profile,” Fee explained. The system is still in its early phases, but it will improve with time.
Player.me worked with XSplit to bring content creation tools into the application.
“We think that one of the main problems with existing solutions, including XSplit Broadcaster, is that it’s hard to get started,” said Fee. “Creating content is quite a daunting task because you have to buy a bunch of equipment, get the software, and then learn the software. Then you have to start creating your content, and it might look kind of crappy at the start because you don’t have a graphic designer. After all that, you have to try to grow an audience.”
Fee continued by stating, “What we’ve seen over the years is that there’s a high amount of churn—users will usually give up after two or three weeks of streaming because they don’t think they’ve achieved what they thought they would. Or they think it’s too hard to keep on using the software. So, what we’ve built here is the easiest tool to get started with.”
Encouraging a stronger content creation community involves a web-based application, with custom overlays designed by Strexm, which opens opportunities for partnerships. “One of the things that we’d like to do is to work with partners on creating overlays that are themed for events that can have the audience engaged. Fans of certain eSports events can show off their badges for the teams that they support during streams, for example. I think there are a lot of opportunities for us to partner in the eSports space and the developer space for games that are launching. We will definitely be adding some audience engagement elements into this product.”
Once users create a video, all they have to do is edit it using the simple tools inside the app. Additionally, tools are built into the application for easy streaming and automating alerts. With ease-of-use, Player.me hopes to foster growth by targeting specific users.
“I think where we are going to see some major growth and traction is in the space of new streamers and the mid-tier streamers who do this casually,” said Fee. “They’re not the hardcore guys who have an expensive rig and separate screens to do advanced stuff. We hope that, at some point, we will develop into that market, but the part that is suffering the most is with the newcomers and people who have been doing it for about six to twelve months but haven’t gotten the support that they need to push their streams to the next level and make it look more professional.”
The Player.me desktop application is currently in closed beta and users can sign up for access. Fee assures users that, “when this thing launches to the public, it’s going to be perfect. Despite it not being under the XSplit brand, it has the reputation of XSplit integrated into it. It gets credibility right away as an XSplit product, and we don’t want to release anything unless it’s top-notch.
We want to help people create content, help them get discovered, and help them connect with each other and have meaningful experiences in gaming. We’re not game developers, but we’re really passionate about the space.”