Xfire is a freeware instant messenger targeted at the gaming audience. It has many other features such as server browsers, stat tracking, screenshot & video recording and more. It is currently only available on Windows.
Xfire was developed by Garrett Blythe and Chris Kirmse, working for a company called Ultimate Arena Gaming. Released in 2003, the featureset was limited compared to the advanced features available from the service today. In 2005 Yahoo filed a lawsuit against Xfire for breaching their patent "Game server for use in connection with a messenger server". And out of court settlement was reached in early 2006. In 2006 Viacom purchased Xfire for $102 million.
Xfire features an instant messenger which can be used to send both text and audio messages to other Xfire users. This can be accessed both outside of games, using the client, or in games, using an in-game display, eliminating the need to minimize the window to receive messages. Also recently implemented is a version compatible with AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).
Xfire uses Windows processes to detect when a player is playing any game supported by Xfire, and will record playing time. Certain other games feature more advanced stat tracking, which can be anything from servers the player is on, to kill counts and other gameplay stats.
Screenshots & Video
Many games have the ability for screenshots to be taken in-game. The user can assign a key (or combination of keys) to use to take a screenshot from within the game. After the game the player can choose to upload any of these screenshots to their Xfire profile. The same can be done for recording video, much like the program Fraps. Another video feature (although still in Alpha) is the ability to do a live stream of the game you're playing, which other Xfire users can watch from the Xfire website.
Xfire also features a clan system, in which users can create clans for use on the Xfire service. The leaders can assign ranks to members, and keep track of how much their members are playing the games, as well have clan-only subforums.
Xfire includes a web browser that can be launched from within a number of supported games. The browser window will open if the user presses a certain key combination, clicks a link in an IM conversation, or uses the web search feature. The browser features tabbed browsing and Flash support, and can be kept open while the user continues to play the game.
Digital Download Service
Xfire has recently launched a Digital Download Store. The service offers both old and new games for download. The store claims that games can be downloaded any number of times. The online activation depends on game specific DRM. Xfire executives are hopeful that many Xfire users will appreciate the download service as all the other features Xfire has been known for.
As seen on Xfire.com, the following games are the top ten most played games by Xfire users (as of February 14th, 2012).
- League of Legends
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- World of Warcraft
- Call of Duty 2
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Battlefield 3
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- World of Tanks
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas