Daily

Talk a Good Game

New chat services connect gamers

Playing video games is more competitive and more social than ever before, particularly with the rise of eSports. Players want to not only taunt each other but also connect over their shared love of gaming and form eLationships, which is also true of those who watch gaming on TV or platforms like Twitch. While consoles like the Xbox have their own chat options, many others are relying on third party apps and services for social interaction.

CURSE

Available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and the web, the widespread availability of the Curse chat app from Twitch is just one of the factors that make it popular among the gaming community. The service also offers integration with Skype, Battle.net, League of Legends, and Steam, syncing player identities across all platforms. This also allows the app to suggest friends that the player has on other networks to merge them all onto one platform. It is also soon adding video calling for up to five players, making it even easier for teams to plan group offensives and strategies.

DISCORD

With more than 25 million users sending upwards of 100 million messages, Discord has solidified itself as a player in the video game chat space. To move beyond being a side platform where players need to launch an additional app, it’s launching GameBridge, a free SDK for in-game integration. It will allow developers to add messaging—including sharing achievements and replays—in their native environment, giving them an alternative to developing their own solution or paying to license such software. It also provides game makers a new tool for development because the service can be deployed in beta versions and used to gather players’ feedback about their experience with forthcoming titles.

PLATO

Much like Apple’s latest iOS brought casual game play into its iMessage interface, Plato provides a similar experience regardless of mobile software platform. Users can choose from a variety of multiplayer games, including pool, poker, chess, backgammon, and others, chatting and playing all within the same app environment. Players can challenge their friends, or if they’d like to meet others and compete against strangers, the app will match them with others of a similar skill level. The service was developed by the same group behind the Yahoo! Games portal, which was formerly the top gaming platform online.