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Screenshot of Xfile Client version 1.127, showing a list of servers
|Original author(s)||Garrett Blythe, Chris Kirmse and Mike Judge|
|Developer(s)||Xfire, Inc. (MTV Networks)|
|Stable release||(April 8, 2011)|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Instant messaging; File sharing; Screenshooting; Screencasting|
Xfire (pronounced "X-Fire") is a proprietary freeware instant messaging service for gamers, that also serves as a game server browser and has various other features. It is currently available for Microsoft Windows. Xfire was originally developed by Ultimate Arena based in Menlo Park, California. Xfire currently has over 1000 registered users and 100 average concurrent users.
Xfire's Livestream (formerly known as Mogulus) allows users to broadcast live video streams of their current game to an audience. The website's Top 10 games has viewed World of Warcraft at the 1st place for many years but was recently surpassed by League of Legends on June 20, 2011.
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Xfire, Inc. was founded in 2002 by Dennis "Thresh" Fong (former Chief Gaming Officer; former U.S. Champion of Quake), Mike Cassidy (former CEO), Max Woon (former CTO) and David Lawee (former COO). The company was formerly known as Ultimate Arena but changed its name to Xfire when its desktop client Xfire became more popular and successful than its gaming website.
Xfire, the desktop client code-named Scoville, was first developed in 2003 by Garrett Blythe, Chris Kirmse (current General Manager), Mike Judge, and others. The full credits can be found in About under the Help menu in the desktop client.
On April 25, 2006, Xfire was acquired by Viacom in a US$102 million deal.
In September 2006, Sony was misinterpreted to have announced that Xfire would be used for the PlayStation 3. What they actually meant was that only one PS3 game, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, was to use some of the features with more game support planned for the future.
On May 7, 2007, Xfire announced they have over 7 million registered users.
On June 13, 2007, Mike Cassidy (former CEO, co-founder) departed the company to work for venture capital firm Benchmark Capital. Adam Boyden (VP of Business Development & Marketing) was assigned to take his place and manage the company for a temporary period.
On August 2, 2010, Xfire was acquired by Titan Gaming. At 22:16 GMT, the following message was broadcast to Xfire users "Xfire was bought by new owners today. Most of the team that has built Xfire over the last six years is leaving. We enjoyed working for you for the last 127 releases and wish we could stay to create the next 127. Good bye, good luck, and game on. --- The Xfire Team". A few minutes later the Xfire website displayed a message stating it was temporarily taken offline. When it came back a few minutes later, the news column on the left had the following content: "August 2, 2010—Xfire has been purchased by another company. Most of the team that has brought you Xfire for the last 6 years is leaving, including me. We've enjoyed our time and I personally am sad that I was only able to do 127 releases. Good bye and game on! - Chris". It was soon replaced with this message: "August 2, 2010--Titan Gaming Acquires Xfire Titan will be taking on the Xfire name, with a focus towards ongoing innovation in the gaming space. The Xfire services will continue uninterrupted for its users. Xfire redefined how gamers communicate, Titan intends to build upon this tradition and utilize the Xfire platform to help gaming companies better engage their users. We look forward to continuing and expanding upon the Xfire service. --- Raincrow"
Yahoo! filed a lawsuit against Xfire, Inc. on January 28, 2005, claiming Xfire has infringed Yahoo!'s U.S. patent No. 6,699,125, for a "Game server for use in connection with a messenger server". Xfire, Inc. filed a countersuit against Yahoo! on March 10, 2005. The countersuit was eventually disqualified by the judge. There has been a settlement between the companies as of January 31, 2006. More details were posted to Xfire's forums, though terms were not disclosed.
Xfire has many features, the majority of which can only be used in game. Its features include:
Xfire features the ability to detect the video game a particular contact is running. By analyzing running processes, Xfire can detect active games and send that information to Xfire clients with the current player as a friend. For many games, it can also detect which server people are playing on, the level which is running and ping times. Some games may be joined instantly. Xfire logs what games users are playing, how many hours they have played them, and saves other information (such as scores) from game servers. This information can be converted into a PNG image by the server via PHP for every user to use as a signature.
Xfire is most notable for its ability to send and receive instant messages from inside a game in fullscreen mode, eliminating the need to minimize the game window. Users can also send in-game messages to other players without joining the game and are also able to see what games their friends are playing. When a user is not playing a game and wish to join a friend who is, Xfire can launch the game and join the friend's server automatically.
As of release 1.108 on May 4, 2009, there is a built-in alpha AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger plugin. Currently, it only supports chatting, and none of AIM's other features. As of December 1, 2009, users could now access their Twitter accounts through Xfire. They could view updates posted by other users, as well as post their own. Recently Google Talk was added.
With version 1.43, released August 2005, Xfire, Inc. added a beta voice chat feature using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Until early 2009, if Voice Chat was being used in a chat room, users had to host the voice chat, making quality a problem. Some users have better system capabilities than others; therefore, voice quality and lag would be a problem. Xfire now hosts the voice chat sessions in high-quality—they call this addition "Xfire Pro-Voice."
Xfire has the ability to take screenshots in game and save them to a specified folder, though this only works with Xfire In-Game-supported games, unlike Fraps. A user can take as many in-game screen shots as they want. Once the user exits their game, Xfire will load all of their screenshots in a window. The user can then select all of the screen shots that they want to upload to their Xfire profile page. Users can also give each screenshot a caption.
Xfire has the ability to record video in-game. However, it can have a significant impact on game performance and recording quality; if one has a low-performance system and starts recording, the frame rate will slow dramatically. This is typically true of all video recording during gaming, and not unique to Xfire.
The Xfire Game software development kit (SDK) was released with version 1.56 (May 2006). It offers game developers an interface to expose some of the game data to the Xfire application. This is not compatible with some games, just like the Screenshot feature.
In version 1.63, Xfire released a beta clan system. This allowed users to create clans or guilds on the Xfire website and invite members (recruits can also ask to join). Many other features were also associated with this such as setting up ranks, favorite games and the number of hours everyone has been playing. With version 1.85, the Clans & Guilds system was officially released.
Xfire added a video streaming feature in version 1.97. A broadcast was required to be viewed using a web browser plugin, supporting only Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. In version 1.113, released on August 17, 2009, the broadcast system changed partner and allowed a plugin-less Flash-based view compatible with any Flash-enabled browser, including Apple Safari on Mac OS X. It lets anyone watch a live feed of a user's screen while they are playing a game. When a user begins a stream, it opens up a chatroom which anyone who is watching a live feed can join.
In-game internet browsing capabilities were added to Xfire in version 1.103. Its homepage is set as a statistics page of the game being played: Clans and Guilds based around the game, current users playing, peak position (when it was the most popular game on the Xfire board) etc.
As of 21 December, Xfire provided feature support for more than 2,000 games, of many different genres.
Support for Windows 98 and Windows Me was discontinued as of January 2007.
Xfire hosts events every month ranging from chat sessions with the program's developers or game developers, debates, game tournaments and machinima contests.
There are many third party modifications for Xfire's client and services, including skins, infoview templates, plugins, and protocol implementations. Some of these may or may not violate Xfire's Terms of Service, according to paragraph 6.
Xfire's lack of an API or SDK for developing third-party plugins makes development and availability of plugins difficult.
Programs such as the Music plugin allow displaying information about music as it plays. The Xfire Web Messenger allows chatting with Xfire friends anywhere in the world, from any Java-supporting operating system.
These libraries offer developers a way to write software to access the Xfire network, without having to write supporting code to handle the protocol, from scratch.
The following plugins let users chat on Xfire with other instant messaging clients.
Several Xfire clients are available for different platforms.