When Raptrrecently announced an additional round of funding for a total of $27 million, I was impressed and puzzled at the same time. On the one hand, $27 million is nothing to sneeze about. On the other hand, to only boast of 8 million users (that’s not active, mind you) with all that funding, is good spin but is actually sad. What is Raptr working on to justify all this funding, aside for the fact that founder Dennis “Thrash” Fong sure could play a mean game of Quake back in the day?
Part of the answer was revealed today. Raptr has re-launched its web site as a social news platform. A mash-up of Digg, Facebook, and Xfire for games, the new Raptr site is very well-designed.
Users can go to Raptr now to share the games they are playing and own, and then to get personalized news and content around these games. Users can submit new, videos, screen shots around each game. Users can follow games as well as tell Raptr which games they are playing (adding to library). All the while, the Raptr client collects data on games you are playing and matches players together.
The plan is that Raptr will then make game recommendations based on all this player data, thereby competing in the wonderful world of games discovery.
Will it work? Maybe. The site is well-designed, but it’s a lot of information to sift through. In addition, Raptr continues to be very hardcore video game centric. Social games like CityVille are still considered “web games” and there is very little iOS games coverage as far as I can tell.
What’s most interesting to me is where does Raptr take its product next. With its new social game news community web site, its robust client base, and 8 million users, Raptr seems to have the opportunity to create a social network around games.
Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in social games, but games are a small piece in the Facebook puzzle. The market is ripe for companies to compete with Facebook, by going vertical in games. One must assume this is the direction Zynga is going and could be the direction Raptr is going as well. At least now, I totally get what Raptr is doing with all the money it has raised, and it’s pretty neat.