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Xfire has gone through a big evolution as a business. But it has always stayed true to its mission of providing social tools such as chat systems for online PC gamers.

The company has changed owners a couple of times, but it still has a big base of users. To date, the company has 18.9 million registered users and 5 million monthly web visitors. And today it is announcing that it has a partnership to provide its social tools to online game publisher GamersFirst. The company made the announcement at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles. The growth and the new deal show that gamers are becoming more and more social and that catering to their needs is a good business.

Mark Donovan, president of Xfire, said the company will provide in-game chat and other services for three of GamersFirst’s online games: APB Reloaded, WarRock, and Sword 2.

Donovan said that Xfire has growing momentum as a tool for gamers. He said users captured more than 20 million screen shots of their accomplishments in games in 2010, and they captured 2 million in-game videos last year. They can broadcast their games live to the internet, and each month, they stream more than 70 million minutes of live game play.

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Xfire is providing GamersFirst with a private-label in-game social tool set. That includes in-game texting and voice chat, user-generated content for screen captures, video capture, and live video streaming. It also does game-hour tracking and one-click game joining. Xfire will also manage socially driven campaigns to promote GamersFirst titles to Xfire users. Those promos are expected to drive a lot of traffic to GamersFirst games.

“We all know the market is shifting its focus to socially connected games; the days of playing video games by yourself are long gone; now it’s all about being interconnected via the web and other devices,” said Xfire President, Mark Donovan.

It’s not easy for online game companies to build all these social tools, so Xfire customizes its offerings for the game publishers. Xfire is used inside 2,300 titles. When players communicate with their friends, they can do so without leaving their games. And they can communicate across different games.

Rahul Sandil, senior vice president at GamersFirst, said that the partnership will help with acquiring new players and keeping them engaged in the community around each game. Active player communities lead to more loyalty for each game.

In its prior life under different management, the original Xfire was a skill-based gaming site where you could place bets in head-to-head battles with your friends. That didn’t work out so well and the company morphed into a chat and matchmaking client for gamers. Viacom’s MTV Networks bought Xfire for $102 million. Then it fired the staff and unloaded Xfire to its new owner, Titan Gaming, which took over Xfire in August. Los Angeles-based Titan was in the skill games business itself. It changed its name to Xfire and is now trying the skill-based gaming market again with new efforts such as Xfire Arcade.

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