Koinup, a new social network for your virtual self. Koinup is aimed at citizens of popular massively multiplayer online worlds and games like Second Life, The Sims, and World of Warcraft. It intends to be a central place for players of those games to share photos, videos, and tutorials.Out of Milan, Italy comes
Earlier this month on the Guardian's Games blog, blogger Aleks Krotoski posed the question, would social networking be helpful for online games? The response from the handful of commenters was mostly, "yes." So is Koinup onto something here? After all, people will invest hours into making social networking profiles for their pets, so why not for their avatars?
Koinup mainly targets four games right now: The Sims, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and imvu. Most of those sites, unfortunately for Koinup, already have thriving communities elsewhere. World of Warcraft has Warcraft Social -- which has at least 8,000 members, and Shawn Fanning's Rupture. Second Life has a popular social network built around the site SLProfiles.com, while 1.4 million The Sims players hang out and trade in game media at the popular The Sims Resource forums.
So the quetions becomes, is there enough crossover in those games that people want a social network that can keep all their game media in one place? My guess is that there is certainly cross-over from game to game, but you'll have to cover more than just 4 games to exploit that. The number of people who play both Second Life and World of Warcraft might be smaller than the number of people playing both World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, for example.
Clearly, though, gamers are interested in social networking. That Warcraft can sustain multiple social networks is evidence of that (oh, and the WoW MySpace page has 125,000 friends). What does Koinup offer in terms of a social networking experience?
Generally, their service is fairly standard. Profiles, comment walls, and other standard social networking fare are wrapped around features allowing easy sharing of screenshots and in game videos, as well a unique slideshow creation feature intended for users to create step-by-step walk-throughs but is not really being used for that purpose. Instead it seems mostly to be used for showing off in game sex scenes (NSFW) or creating comics that make little to no sense.
Koinup does have some nice mashup features, like the ability to add Flickr photostreams or Twitter feeds to your profile. There is one thing Koinup appears to be missing that any gaming social network probably needs: the ability to see who's online in the game and find playing partners (which is something I wish GameSpy would do across all of the games in its porfolio).