GameFly, the by-mail game rental service, is testing different waters with its new GamePie social networking application launching today for Facebook. GamePie is designed to become the gaming community's plebeian version of Metacritic, giving users the ability to rate, review and recommend titles to friends. OK, great, but why would GameFly develop this application, and more importantly, where's the cash in it for the company?
"We've done a really good job over the last six years of getting gamers the games they want. And we've done well on the content side, but we haven't done a good job on the community side. Whether its around the franchise or the platform, so this is a great way to take the lead," GameFly
co-founder Sean Spector told us during a very Web 2.0 walkthough of the GamePie program. "We've got a good brand with GameFly, but this is about socialization of games, not about buying games or renting. So, currently we're just trying to make a killer social app."
Spector explains that GamePie currently has about 15,000 titles in its database for users to add to their pages, but the company expects to have 40,000+ very soon with games spanning all platforms for people to rate and discuss. Currently an ancient game like MULE
is missing, but many different versions of Madden NFL
are there for those who know (and could debate) the difference between the annual editions.
Product Manager Jason Wade gave us a tour of the application, but it seemed relatively intuitive for anyone that's using Facebook. Currently the application's main draw will be comparing your friends' scores and reviews of games compared to the general populace. Spector informed us that GamePie is meant to be as transparent as possible, so he expects there'll eventually be a main statistics page giving yummy data about top rated games, top titles currently being played and other non-intrusive data.
GamePie will eventually support Gamertags for auto-updates of what users are playing and (just to show how separate this application is from GameFly) will eventually support linking up to GameFly accounts. We asked if the lack of GameFly symbiosis was an oversight considering the obvious marketing tie-in, Spector said that GamePie was designed by GameFly, but that the company is a US based brand and GamePie is being sent out into the world to live (or die) on its own merits.
Although it seems like everyone and their great-aunt Ezra is jumping on the social networking bandwagon, if the program catches on, GamerPie does have some intriguing possibilities in the long term. If the application does stay transparent and eventually has its own statistics webpage, it could become (with a large enough sample size) an interesting source of information about games, based off real-time data from the community.