myYearbook Live: The Chatroulette Of Social Games [Interview]

myYearbook, one of the Web's most popular video meeting places, has unveiled a new social gaming service called myYearbook Live, which brings together social games and live video for a Chatroulette-esque online gaming experience. I had the opportunity to ask the CEO of myYearbook, Geoff Cook, a few questions about the new service.

myYearbook, one of the Web’s most popular video meeting places, has unveiled a new social gaming service called myYearbook Live, which brings together social games and live video for a Chatroulette-esque online gaming experience. The new live gaming platform will be rolled out later this month. I had the opportunity to ask the CEO of myYearbook, Geoff Cook, a few questions about the new service. Keep reading to find out what Geoff had to say.

Before we get to my interview with Geoff, let’s take a look at the new myYearbook Live platform. myYearbook Live is different from other video chat sites that let you play games with your friends because Live doesn’t just let you play with your friends, it matches you up with other interesting users from around the globe and lets you play games together.

Think of it as the Chatroulette of social games (except much less dodgy). You decide which game you want to play and myYearbook Live matches you up with other players based on a variety of criteria. Like the player you are matched up with? Have fun playing your favorite games together. Don’t like the player you are matched up with? No worries. Just like in Chatroulette, players have the option to skip ahead to find someone else to play with.

What games will you be able to play? According to Games.com, the service will start out being integrated into simple games like Gin Rummy, Chess, Tic Tac Toe, Battleship, Connect Four and Chess. myYearbook has also teamed up with top game developers OMGPOP, Viximo and Heyzap to integrate these developers’ popular games into the real-time video platform of myYearbook. Check out the demo below and then find out what CEO Geoff Cook had to say about myYearbook Live. As always, please feel to share your thoughts and opinions about myYearbook Live in the comments!

Megan at Social Times: What inspired the idea for myYearbook Live?

Geoff Cook: myYearbook is about meeting new people. We wanted to build a gaming platform where who you play is as important as what you play. Blending live video with synchronous social games brings online to the visceral, real-world social experience you get sitting around a monopoly table or shooting pool.

Megan: When will the new service officially launch?

Geoff: The service is in internal Beta testing now on production servers. It will roll out slowly to groups of users starting December 15. We expect them to ramp it over the course of January.

Megan: What criteria are used to pair gamers with one another?

Geoff: Age, sex, location, skill, game, and VIP status form the matching algorithm. We were not interested in matching you with the next game as much as matching you with the next player that you might be interested in. The VIP status, which is our subscription service, will provide monetization as VIPs are always first in line.

Megan: Do you see a trend in people becoming more comfortable playing games with strangers online via video chat? I think that several years ago it would have been completely unheard of to video chat with strangers online, let alone play live games with them. Why do you think people are becoming more comfortable with this sort of thing?

Geoff: Meeting people through games has been around as long as games themselves. It’s no surprise people want to do this online as well. A recent survey by the Information Solutions Group of Popcap games found that the #2 and #2 most popular groups of people to play online social games with are not people they know in “real life” but instead “online friends” and “online strangers.” What’s more the same study found people like to play games with people of around the same age and 70% of people had made new friends through social games.

We think adding video to online games is a natural idea whose time has come. The proliferation of laptops has led to a proliferation of web cams, and front-facing cameras will soon be a standard on every mobile device. Our goal is to create a moderated video chat with clear standards, a sizeable moderation force growing from 20 to 50 people, and good technology including image recognition and sophisticated blocking technology.