Raptr, the PC online gaming platform, just announced it’s brought in an additional $14 million in funding, most of which will be used to finance its new service, Plays.tv. It’s a new social media site designed for the PC gaming community. There’s an app you download (for Windows) which automatically records your game screen while you play any game that can be shared through its social network, as well as the usual array of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Plays.tv is designed to highlight special moments of a game. Will gamers be interested in sharing those moments It’s seems like an excellent bet for Raptr, which already has an audience of millions of PC gamers.
Game marketers can look at this as yet another social medium. When special moments occur in games, players will now be able to share them far more easily, which is good news for helping games gain visibility.
[a]listdaily caught up with Raptr CEO Dennis Fong to find out the thinking behind Plays.tv and what it might mean to marketers.
Congrats on your new round of financing. It seems like you are already having revenue come in from advertising, why do you need the additional financing?
Well, Plays.tv is just in its infancy and we plan to add a lot of cool features to it to make it the best community for capturing and sharing your gaming highlights. We want Plays.tv to be a place where gamers can memorialize and relive their best moments, which means potentially a whole lot of bandwidth and storage costs as serving video can be rather expensive.
The Wall Street Journal described Plays.tv as “Instagram for Gamers.” Is that a correct description? How does it fit into the Raptr eco-system?
“An Instagram-like service for gamers” is about the closest analogy we’ve found so far, and it’s a pretty apt comparison, especially when taken in the context of existing gameplay video experiences like Twitch, which are really entirely focused on live, asynchronous, one-to-many video streams that require those creating the content – the streamers – to essentially be performing on-camera for extended periods of time. Plays.tv is about asynchronous, recorded, short-form videos showcasing the memorable moments that all gamers have when they play. Plays.tv is effectively completely separate from the Raptr eco-system, with the exception of the fact that the Raptr client contains the same recording functionality found in the new Plays.tv client, so we expect quite a few gameplay highlights to come from the existing Raptr user base, which now numbers more than 46 million core PC gamers.
You’re mainly focused on PC gaming, yet Instagram is a mobile service. How do you see trends pointing to more and more mobile and tablet gaming as well as those saying that mobile advertising will double that of desktop by 2017?
Yes, Raptr as a company, and the software and services we offer, are very much focused on PC gaming. The Instagram analogy doesn’t extend to platforms, but it certainly works well in terms of the types of experiences that both creators and consumers of gameplay highlights can enjoy: just as it’s fun to consume Instagram content (pics and vids) from friends and strangers alike, it turns out that sharing your epic gaming moments with friends and a community of like-minded gamers is pretty fulfilling – like discussing that great 360 move, or your friend’s epic fail, or any other key moment in a game. We may eventually add support for mobile and/or console games – in fact, some enterprising early users have already found workarounds in order to post console gameplay clips to Plays.tv – but for the foreseeable future, we’re really focused on PC gaming, which is a $30 billion a year industry sector in its own right, with more than 1.2 billion PC gamers worldwide!
E-Sports and streaming gameplay seems to finally have taken off this year. What are some interesting opportunities in this medium for marketers to be aware of?
Beyond the obvious — sponsorships and endorsements around professional players and teams — marketers should be looking at the broader picture: sharing gameplay content in a range of video forms is huge opportunity to reach large, passionate, dedicated audiences of gamers. Streaming video has gotten the lion’s share of the attention because of its close association with eSports — but recorded gameplay can command equally large, equally avid and equally affluent audiences; just ask PewDiePie, who made more than $4 million last year through ads and sponsorships of his recorded gameplay.
Finally, what’s your favorite game right now?
At the moment, I’m loving Ori And The Blind Forest, which is a gorgeous game that’s also extremely challenging. I like games that can keep me visually enthralled even as they’re torturing me in terms of difficulty level!