Videogamers and “social networking” – a $102 million oxymoron?

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Today, news comes that Viacom has plunked down $102 million to buy X-Fire, a videogamer social networking website that will now become part of MTV Networks’ already massively young male reach.

As Forbes.com reports,

“The acquisition gives Viacom a piece of the sought-after social networking space, albeit targeted to gamers, particularly young men. Xfire has four million registered users and one million active users. Last year, Viacom is thought to have bid on perhaps the most popular social networking site, MySpace.com, but lost out to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which bought MySpace owner Intermix last summer for $580 million in cash…Allowing users to access other gamers through instant messaging capability allows them to bypass popular instant messengers like AOL’s AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.”

The downside? These 1 million active users rarely leave the house except to buy Doritos and Mountain Dew. xfire.jpg

Nonetheless, we feel kind of stupid. All along, we’ve been selling ourselves as a blog, foolishly forgoing a major infusion of Wall Street cash. So, don’t think of FishbowlLA as a blog – think of us as a social networking site for journalists.” And you can make that $103 million check out to Claude Brodess-er, with an ‘e’.