MARCH 31, 2015 • Best known for its PC game customization tools, Raptr, Inc. has launched a new social network named Plays.tv. The idea behind the site is to provide PC gamers a place where they can show off their in-game highlights. While there are already services such as Twitch.tv that provide very similar functionality, Plays.tv is not concentrating on live streaming or long videos but short clips. The idea for Plays.tv came out of experience gained from Raptr’s existing client, which also supports the recording of game highlights. What Raptr discovered is that very few of its users actually shared those clips via the social links built into the client. The conclusion was many people may be hesitant to share their exploits via general social networks, but would be more inclined to share to a network dedicated to game clips. Users install the Plays.tv client (Windows only), which goes on to record all game sessions in their entirety in the background. When the player wants to save an important highlight, they enter a code, which saves the last 20 seconds. Users can use the included editing tools to craft their clips from the saved gameplay session. Clips up to 20 minutes in length can then be shared to the Plays.tv site, although the emphasis is on sub-five minute highlights. In related news, Raptr has raised $14 million in a Series D investment round led by Accel Partners. According to Raptr, those funds will be applied to building out Plays.tv. The company has received $41 million in outside investment capital to date.
Impact: Plays.tv is an interesting development given that Raptr had started out as a social game client that grew into a game optimization service. That said, Plays.tv is a separate service that requires a separate client installation from the Raptr client. The company does have 46 million existing users so that is a good base to help get Plays.tv off the ground. The idea of encouraging short clips is a good strategy. Lots of funny things happen during a game session that more than core gamers can appreciate. By keeping these clips short, Plays.tv has the chance to attract a more mainstream audience as links to the service get shared into a wider set of social media. Raptr says all PC games are supported, so clips from The Sims 4 or FIFA 15 have the potential of drawing in a non-gaming crowd. All of that is fertile territory for advertising placements, which is how we gather Plays.tv will end up being monetized, although there are no ads in evidence at launch. So while tapping Raptr users will be important in building out Plays.tv, it could be very possible that in a year this new social service will be helping mainstream users discover Raptr.