|Original author(s)||Garrett Blythe, Chris Kirmse and Mike Judge|
|Final release||1.155 (March 20, 2013)|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Instant messaging, file sharing; screenshooting, screencasting|
Xfire (pronounced "X-Fire") was a proprietary freeware instant messaging service for gamers that also served as a game server browser with various other features. It was available for Microsoft Windows.
Xfire's Livestream (formerly known as Mogulus) allowed users to broadcast live video streams of their current game to an audience. The Xfire website also maintained a "Top Ten" games list, ranking games by the number of hours Xfire users spend playing each game every day. World of Warcraft had been the most played game for many years, but was surpassed by League of Legends on June 20, 2011.
Social.xfire.com was a community site for Xfire users, allowing them to upload screenshots, photos and videos and to make contacts.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2009)
Xfire, Inc. was founded in 2002 by Dennis "Thresh" Fong, Mike Cassidy, Max Woon, and David Lawee. The company was formerly known as Ultimate Arena, but changed its name to Xfire when its desktop client Xfire became more popular and successful than its gaming website. The first version of the Xfire desktop client was code-named Scoville, which was first developed in 2003 by Garrett Blythe, Chris Kirmse, Mike Judge, and others. The services ability to track game play hours and quickly launch web games, compared to other services at the time quickly gained it popularity.
In September 2006, Sony was misinterpreted to have announced that Xfire would be used for the PlayStation 3. The confusion came when one PlayStation 3 game, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, was to use some of Xfire's features with more game support planned for the future.
On May 7, 2007, Xfire announced that they had reached 7 million registered users. Shortly after, on June 13, 2007, co-founder and former CEO Mike Cassidy departed the company to work for venture capital firm Benchmark Capital. Adam Boyden, Vice President of Business Development & Marketing, was assigned to take his place and manage the company for a temporary period.
On August 2, 2010, Xfire was acquired by Titan Gaming.
On June 10, 2015, Xfire announced that its social services would be shut down on Friday, June 12 with only 2 days' notice. The home page for the social part of Xfire at that time linked to an export page where users could download all their previously uploaded screenshots and videos.
On April 30, 2016, the homepage of Xfire's site (http://www.xfire.com) was replaced with the following text:
"In 2003, Xfire released the Xfire Client, the first product to bring the outside world into your games. Since its humble beginnings as a simple chat client, Xfire has expanded to enable users to create and play in hundreds of thousands of tournaments across the globe. Attracting over 25 million users into a healthy and vibrant community, Xfire set the standard for the socialization and connection in PC / Console Games.
Thirteen years bring a lot of change to an industry. This is especially true in the fast paced world of gaming and the dynamics of the industry have changed significantly in this time. Since Xfire was first released, we’ve seen 3 console generations, the advent of mobile gaming, the transition from packaged games to digital distribution, and the rise of Free To Play games.
But all good things must come to an end. XFire has had a great run and we can’t thank you enough for supporting us over the last 14 years. Today, with a heavy heart we turn off the lights at XFire and move on to new opportunities. See ya space cowboy...
Your friends at XFire"
The export function ceased to be available on or around June 27, 2015. On July 6, 2015, the site was shut down and the contents of the service were deleted.
As of June 1, 2020, the Xfire domain (https://www.xfire.com) is owned by a website that functions as a directory for online gambling sites and online casinos. The domain itself redirects to a subpage of that website explaining what Xfire was and offering alternatives to it.
Yahoo! filed a lawsuit against Xfire, Inc. on January 28, 2005, claiming that Xfire has infringed Yahoo!'s U.S. patent No. 6,699,125 for a "Game server for use in connection with a messenger server". Xfire, Inc. filed a countersuit against Yahoo! on March 10, 2005, which was eventually disqualified by the judge. There has been a settlement between the companies as of January 31, 2006. More details were posted to Xfire's forums.
Xfire had many features, the majority of which could only be used while in-game.
Xfire featured the ability to detect the video game a particular user was running. By analyzing running processes, Xfire could detect active games and then send that information to the Xfire servers. Other user's clients would then be updated with this information. For many games, it could also detect which server users were playing on, the level which was running, and ping times. Using these features, users were also able to see what games their friends were playing, and to join any friends who were currently in-game by having Xfire launch the game and join the friend's server automatically. Xfire logged what games users were playing, how many hours they had played them, and saved other information (such as scores) from game servers. This information could be converted into a PNG image by the server via PHP for every user to use as a signature.
Xfire allowed players to take screenshots in-game and save them to a specified folder, though this only worked with games that had Xfire in-game support. Users could select and caption any screenshots they wished to upload and share on their Xfire profile page. Xfire also had the ability to record video in-game, though this often had a significant impact on game performance and recording quality if one had a low-performance system, causing the frame rate to drop dramatically. However, this is typically true of all video recording during gaming, and was not unique to Xfire.
The clients main function was as an instant messenger. Similar to other such online services, any user who had been added as a 'friend' could be immediately contacted through text chat. To communicate with other users in-game, Xfire users could send and receive instant messages from inside any game that was running in full screen mode, regardless of the games the sender or recipient were in. This eliminated the need to minimize the game window. Users were also able to directly send files to one another via the chat window. In August 2005, Xfire updated to version 1.43, which added a beta voice chat feature using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to the application called "Xfire Pro-Voice". Until early 2009, if voice chat was being used in a chat room, users had to host the voice chat, causing quality problems and lag due to some users have better system capabilities than others. Xfire hosted the voice chat sessions to resolve quality problems. On May 4, 2009, a built-in alpha AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger plugin was released in 1.108. As of May 4, 2009, it only supported chatting, and none of AIM's other features. From December 1, 2009, users could access their Twitter accounts through Xfire, allowing players to view updates posted by other users, as well as post their own. Google Talk was also subsequently been added. In December 2011, Xfire added support for Facebook chatting, enabling users to chat with their Facebook friends from within the game.
On December 16, 2011, Xfire added a feature to allow its users to capture in-game video and upload it to YouTube. This feature was similar to other popular in-game video recording software products, but allowed users to record videos up to 10 minutes in length for free.
Xfire added a video streaming feature in version 1.97. To view a broadcast, a web browser plugin was required, supporting only Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. In version 1.113, released on August 17, 2009, the broadcast system was changed to allow a plugin-less, Flash-based view compatible with any Flash-enabled browser. This feature let anyone watch a live feed of a user's screen while they were playing a game. Live streams had accompanying chat rooms that let anyone who was watching a live feed communicate.
In-game internet browsing capabilities were added to Xfire in version 1.103. Its homepage was set as a statistics page of the game currently being played by the user, including listing other players and any clans and guilds based around the game being played.
Third-party modifications and software forking
There were many third party modifications for Xfire's client and services, including skins, infoview templates, plugins, and protocol implementations. Some of these may or may not violate Xfire's terms of service.
There were a variety of third-party plugins developed for use with Xfire.
- OpenFire: An open-source (LGPL licensed) Java API and suite of tools to access the Xfire instant messaging network.
- Xfirelib: An open-source library written in C++ which implements the Xfire protocol. Based on it is an Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) gateway to Xfire which also implements Gamers Own Instant Messenger (GOIM) extensions to the XMPP protocol.
The following plugins let users chat on Xfire with other instant messaging clients:
- Gfire: A Pidgin plugin for Linux and Windows that lets users chat and see what games friends are playing. It has most of the major Xfire features: group chat, clan chat, file transfer, avatars, server, and game detection.
- Kopete plugin: A plugin that lets users chat and see the status of friends.
- Miranda IM plugin: A plugin that allows users to chat with others on Xfire, detect games, and more.
- Xblaze: An open-source plugin for Adium that allows communication over the Xfire protocol, using the MacFire implementation. It is the first Xfire client for Mac OS X.
Several Xfire clients were available for different platforms:
- MacFire: An open-source implementation for of the Xfire network protocol for Mac OS X. It was made possible, in part, by prior work done for Xblaze, XfireLib, and OpenFire.
- BlackFire: A client for Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
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- "About Xfire Pro Voice". Xfire.com. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- "Release notes for 1.108". Xfire. May 4, 2009. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012.
- "Xfire Adds New YouTube Feature". Xfire.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
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- "Download". Xfire. December 14, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- "Terms and Conditions". Xfire. August 2, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- Staff (March 2007). "The Best (and Worst) of 2006; The 16th Annual Computer Games Awards". Computer Games Magazine (195): 46–51.