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Titan Gaming buys Xfire from Viacom

By Dan Pearson

Tue 03 Aug 2010 9:57am GMT / 5:57am EDT / 2:57am PDT

Cash tournament company picks up gamers' social network

Titan Gaming, a small company specialising in gaming prize tournaments, has acquired the gaming social network Xfire from its previous owner, Viacom.

Most of Xfire's current staff are to depart following the buy-out, which appears to be part of Titan's wider effort to create a service akin to Richard Branson's Virgin Gaming.

The price paid for Xfire by Titan is unknown at this time, although Titan recently drummed up over $1 million in funding from angel investors.

Xfire was released in 2003, as a platform for cross-game communication and server browsing. The company was purchased by media giant Viacom (and its subsidiary MTV) for $102 million in 2006, but competition from other similar services such as Valve's Steam client has arguably pushed it out of the spotlight in recent years.

The four-year-old Titan Gaming enables third parties to host skill-based cash tournaments on their own websites. Such tournaments seem something of an industry trend of late - Richard Branson's Virgin Gaming recently entered the arena, as have a number of independent firms.

The acquisition of Xfire is likely a part of Titan's bid to compete in the tournament space, adding a communication infrastructure to the company's existing platform.

"We think the next hot model is competitive video games,” said John Maffei, chief executive of Titan Gaming.

While Maffei claimed that the company had retained several key development staff during the takeover, many of the Xfire team are moving on.

An official statement on the company's website by founder Chris Kirmse - since removed - stated: "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."

A replacement statement now states that Xfire will continue uninterrupted for its current users.

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