MTV Networks has sold off its Xfire gamer chat business, according to an announcement on the Xfire site. That’s an interesting twist, considering Viacom, the parent of MTV, bought Xfire in 2006 for $102 million.
Titan Gaming announced this evening that it purchased Xfire for an undisclosed price. The purchase price has to be low, since Titan has raised only $1.3 million to date.
The company plans to use Xfire to innovate in the gaming space. Titan itself runs a tournament games business. But Xfire’s current services will be uninterrupted, said John Maffei, chief executive of Titan Gaming, in a statement.
The message posted on the Xfire web site says, “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’s not clear who the buyer is yet.
The Xfire site says it has more than 16.7 million registered users who use its chat service, which allows gamers to see what their friends are playing and to join them in an online multiplayer match simply by clicking on their names. Xfire was founded as Ultimate Arena in 2002 by Dennis “Thresh” Fong, a former professional game player who turned entrepreneur. He was joined by serial entrepreneur Mike Cassidy and David Lawee, now a Google executive.
Xfire started as a tournament game site where players could bet real money against each other. But the business that took off was an instant messenger chat service for gamers. That enabled Xfire to grow quickly, but now it seems that Viacom has tired of the business. Fong, meanwhile, went on to create Raptr, the social network for gamers that is now one of Xfire’s competitors.