GameFly has launched a new Facebook application, called GamePie, which allows gamers to share what they are currently playing; review and score video games that they have played in the past; and make a wish list of games that they want to play in the future. While GamePie does not feature any direct hook-ins to the GameFly service, it aims to build a better community around games and allow for better sharing and discovery.
During a walk through of the service with GameFly co-founder Sean Spector and product manager Jason Wade, they emphasized that this is not a money-making venture yet. At this point, GamePie is about building a strong community. Obviously there will be opportunities for monetization in the future, but that is not their top priority right now. Another big point is that GameFly and GamePie are two totally separate services. While GameFly has been a successful games by mail company in the United States, GamePie aims to be a global Web service, building a user base that expands outside of the U.S.
At its core, GamePie feels a lot like Flixster's movie application on Facebook. A good portion of the functionality is in both applications. GamePie lets you rate games you have played and compare those ratings with friends and with the community as a whole. You can also recommend a game to a friend if you think that they would like it.
When you drill down into a page for an individual game, you get some detailed information, such as the publisher, genre, and release date, along with which of your friends have played the game as well. The individual game page also exposes a community rating, which is an average of all of the reviews given to the game. Also included is a "Game Wall" on which users can post their comments and thoughts about the game in the same fashion as people write on the walls of profiles or groups.
Currently, GamePie features games from 10 platforms, including all of the most current. GamePie's selection is up to 15,000 titles at this point, with 40,000 promised by the end of the summer. Other features that are slated for GamePie in the future include linking with Xbox Live Gamertags and slicing review data in more ways in order to present interesting statistics to users.
With a lot of activity, GamePie could grow into a very useful and interesting Facebook application. At this point, the features are a little on the simplistic side. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I would like to see the service beefed up in the future, especially to include integration with GameFly, Xbox Live, and maybe even aggregated critic review scores from Metacritic. Even though the average review score from your friends is great, I think that the real value of this service lies in the data and insight generated from the community as a whole, rather than your select group of friends. As more of this data is exposed by GamePie, I think that it will evolve into a very interesting and valuable resource for gamers.