Industry Perspectives with Jon Radoff, CEO of GamerDNA

Jon Radoff os the CEO of the fledgling GamerDNA.com. The concept behind the new site is simple – give gamers a place where they can use their achievements and experiences in the gaming world to give themselves a more concrete identity and share these experiences with like-minded gamers. GamerDNA goes further than just sharing inside its own site though. The service is also a platform that allows gamers to transport their identities to other sites in the growing GamerDNA Alliance – a group of fan sites and guilds that have integrated the technology behind GamerDNA into their own sites.

Jon explains the philosophy behind GamerDNA:

“There are two places where people talk about games on the internet – journalistic sites like IGN.com where they have little identity or interactivity or fan and guild sites where there is plenty of opportunity to interact and share your identity but these sites are isolated entities. What we wanted to do is build a platform that allows gamers to construct their identity based on their gaming experiences and then transport it to the various sites that they use. Our idea was to help gamers become more than just text on a screen.”

The site itself has 300,000 registered users since its inception in June of this year and over all the Alliance sites they are seeing 3 million visits per month – which is superb success given they have only been around for just over three months.

The way in which GamerDNA is helping gamers form their online identity is very effective as well. At the heart of the GamerDNA site is an automated service that aggregates gamers’ data from their accounts on services like Xfire, Steam, Xbox Live, PSN and MMOs like World of Warcraft. This helps form an instant picture of a gamer’s identity.

The thing that sets gamers apart from other social groups on the internet is that they are extremely difficult group to please. Jon elaborates,

“We found that gamers are looking for something that is more immediately utilitarian than the average social networking site. They may make friends through a site but that is just a by-product. They need more to make them engage with a site. One of the major challenges was finding what engages gamers and building the site around that. We made some quizzes that allowed gamers to quickly build up a profile of their gaming habits and provided the sort of immediate rewards that gamers are looking for. Obviously the automated of gamer data over different networks is a big draw as well.”

Another challenge was finding a way to collect and integrate all the gamer data from the various different sources. Jon continues,

“We had to investigate ways that we could collect all the gamer data from different sources like Xfire, Steam and Xbox Live and finding a way to normalise it for using on the GamerDNA platform. Some sources had the data readily available in a digital format and it was just a case of building code that would collect and normalise it for the platform. Xbox Live was a different challenge because the data was not readily available so we had to approach Microsoft in order to reach a deal that would allow us to incorporate the Live data into the GamerDNA platform.”

What does the future hold for GamerDNA?

“Our mission is to make GamerDNA the place for expressing your gaming identity on the internet.” says Jon,”We are currently working to expand the network of sites that use the GamerDNA platform and also the number of gaming networks that we can access through our automated tracking service. Our gamer’s identities are defined by the games they play and the networks that they play their games on. We are trying to come up with new and exciting ways these two together. We’re also excited to see what cool ideas other people are developing on the platform.”

With the gaming industry growing so rapidly and becoming much more social through MMO’s and services like Steam and Xbox Live, it is increasingly important for gamers to be able to express their identities more powerfully. GamerDNA is one of the first platforms to offer gamers a way to define themselves more clearly and it is already seeing strong growth. With the passion that Jon and his team have for GamerDNA it will be interesting to see where things go over the next several months.