Just read a post on Clickable Culture (Link) regarding ex-Napster Shawn Fanning’s social networking service, Rupture, and Blizzard’s new Armory player database system. In his post, Tony Walsh makes the following comment:
Given what Blizzard has shown it can do with data it already collects, I think it would be relatively trivial for the developer to take The Armory into social-networking territory, allowing players to add information to personal profiles, publish buddy-lists, chat, even perform some in-game functions through a web-browser interface. If Blizzard goes this route (and I think it should), Rupture is screwed. Players already spend a lot of time within the official Warcraft community, I don’t see why anyone would sign up for a third-party service and use a software add-on if Blizzard provides social networking services even remotely comparable to Rupture’s offerings.
Players already spend a lot of time within the official Warcraft community, I don’t see why anyone would sign up for a third-party service and use a software add-on if Blizzard provides social networking services even remotely comparable to Rupture’s offerings.
I’m extraordinarily surprised to read this as I would expect Clickable Culture to see the bigger picture here, especially since the Rupture FAQ that’s referenced includes the following:
Rupture is a social network designed to better connect gamers in the virtual world. Rupture allows gamers to track their characters, game data, statistics, scores, share pictures and much more. Additionally, Rupture provides a gamer-based Instant Messaging and Chat client with several gamer-related features built into it.
World of Warcraft is the only current supported game. Development is planned for the support of several other games in the future.
Emphasis here is mine.
Personally, I don’t think it’s hard to see what Fanning is doing and under other circumstances I’d simply post this as a comment on Clickable Culture. However, given my recent post on Kaneva (reLink), I think it’s worth giving Rupture another look and providing a bit more perspective.
As a regular reader of Blogspotting, I’d read about the Rupture project in a Heather Green post (Link). At the time I was too busy to give this any thought other than mentally linking it to Xfire, the same service I once predicted would be the object of a rather large buyout (reLink – it was picked up by MTV). Contrary to Clickable Culture’s assertion that “Rupture is screwed”, I believe it’s actually capable of doing something somewhat remarkable: outliving every videogame and virtual world currently available.
Unlike Blizzard, Rupture isn’t tied to a single property. World of Warcraft will eventually fade away; the users won’t. Groups of users (guilds, clans, whatever) move from game to game; virtual world to virtual world. The one thing that ties them all together is the Net, and Rupture exists on that level. It’s user-centric, not game-centric. Rupture isn’t competing with the games or the worlds, it’s competing with XBox Live, Xfire, and all the other social networking services out there.
My assertion is that this will get some attention, especially when Rupture taps into the statistics for a second game. After that, watch this service grow into something much more interesting; a Ning for 3D worlds perhaps. And just like Xfire, someone big will buy it; someone looking to mine player data for market research and advertising. The only question in my mind now is: who?