Online gaming software and community services provider Xfire has been acquired by Viacom in a $102 million deal which will see the firm and its four million registered users joining the MTV Networks group of properties.
The deal, which is to be conducted in cash, was announced last night - and is the latest in a series of aggressive moves into the games space on the part of MTV Networks and its parent company, Viacom.
Xfire is a PC focused set of online gaming tools and community services, including Xbox Live style buddy lists, in-game messaging and voice chat, as well as more complex features such as stat tracking and the ability to join games your friends are participating in with a single click.
The software, which is free to download and supported by advertising revenue, recently topped four million registered users - a million of whom are active, and clock up an average of 91 hours each per month, with an average session length of over three hours.
As part of the MTV Networks group, the company hopes to be able to significantly increase its advertising revenues - and Viacom's statement on the purchase promises "more aggressive marketing, greater global penetration and comprehensive integration with the company's other digital and cable properties that address the gaming demographic."
"On both a strategic and an economic level, this is a terrific deal for Viacom," according to Viacom president and CEO Tom Freston. "Xfire is far and away the leading PC gaming communications and community platform, has outstanding management, and is a perfect fit with our growing digital businesses at MTV Networks. It's a bull's eye against our young audiences, and meets our strict financial targets."
Among MTV Networks' other game-focused properties are the Neopets franchise and the recently launched GameTrailers.com video site, which the company claims are part of a wider strategy to address multiple sectors including music, games, entertainment, news and networking for its targeted audiences.