Where Does Raptr Fit In The New Social Gaming World?

I am the kind of guy who wants to sit back and play a game without having any types of distractions. I don't want to have to get up from the couch to let my dog in, and I don't want my messenger to jingle every single time I receive a message; Raptr is a service that - in my opinion anyways - creates distractions.

Raptr, an online communication system for gamers, does its best to capture the needs of social gamers. It offers users the ability to talk with friends via AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Xfire and GTalk on one platform. Not only are gamers able to participate in small talk during games, but they are also able to see what other gamers are playing. Unfortunately, Raptr does not hold up well to my standards.

I am the kind of guy who wants to sit back and play a game without having any types of distractions. I don’t want to have to get up from the couch to let my dog in, and I don’t want my messenger to jingle every single time I receive a message; Raptr is a service that – in my opinion anyways – creates distractions.

An in-game messaging system that incoporates multiple communication applications into master one application may sound great, but it also creates a distraction. One can relate this concept to texting your buddy while in the middle of a conversation with another person face-to-face. I don’t care if you’re heading over to Tommy’s house in a couple of hours to drink a few beers or to check out his latest technological gizmo – I want to play my game.

Another annoyance is being able to view which games your friends are playing. Why do I need to know what game my buddy is playing, or better yet, why does my buddy need to know what game I am playing? Whatever happened to having a little bit of privacy? It reminds me of having to tell my mother where I’d be throughout the day as a child.

Understand this, Raptr will continually grow. Just recently, as most of you may or may not know, Raptr officially reached 6 million members, which in return secured $15 million dollars of additional funding for the company. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand that gamers are avid and excited about this application, but I just don’t see it.

Privacy is my main concern. I understand that other XBOX Live gamers can already see what you’re playing, but to easily see when I start a Halo game when you’re on a different console is a concern; I do not need everyone to see where I am at all times. Again, I understand the “coolness” of the technology, but I am more concerned with privacy issues.

If I have to give a positive comment about Raptr’s platform, it would be regarding the community aspect of the application. For example, I want to be able to see what other gamers are playing, but not exactly which user. Real-time statistics is a better piece of technology than the intrusion of privacy. Raptr also gives users the ability to see how many hours are being put into particular games. Finally, the idea that gamers can see what achievements other users have reached is unique and pivotal to knowing where your skill lies in a game. Raptr also allows you to do what I do on a daily basis: review games. Instead of reading reviews by individuals like myself, you can understand why other gamers may or may not like a particular game. Community reviewing is an excellent way to comprehend the pros and cons of a particular game.

We need to prepare for social gaming communities like Raptr. Before jumping the gun, sit back and think about what the application does, and how it can affect you.  Watch out for platforms that may intrude into our privacy, even if we may enjoy the benefits of that platform. Being aware of what may be next is the key.

CJ Arlotta covers the world of social gaming for development firms as well as the average consumer. Currently, he is accumulating more knowledge of the international gaming market to follow and understand what global developers may need to compete with already striving markets.