Raptr, the social-media application for gamers to track and share achievements, stats, and playtimes with friends, today released a PC application. Raptr on PC allows users to not only track and monitor all of their gaming across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC (through Steam), offers a number of features for players including a web-browser that is functional while playing games on the PC, a centralized friends list across all attached platforms, and chat functions across all platforms.

Here’s a complete list of what the Raptr PC application does:

  • Unified friends list (that includes Steam, Xbox Live, Playstation Network, xFire, and chat protocols AIM, MSN, Gchat, Yahoo!, and Facebook)
  • A unified profile that’s viewable to all of your friends and the larger Raptr community
  • A unified list of game stats that tracks everything from the number of achievements, the number of games played, and the number of hours played, as well as a complete list of games that you own.
  • Live tracking of games played with statistics comparing you to friends and the Raptr community as a whole
  • The ability to chat through all attached services inside the Raptr app (except for Steam, which opens a Steam chat window)
  • Access to the Raptr Rewards program, which enables gamers to earn prizes for playing specific games. Prizes can include everything from in-game prizes to full game downloads and discounts on real-world products
  • Access to download Free-to-Play games through Raptr’s servers.
  • A full web browser that’s available to view during gameplay.
  • A screenshot and upcoming video recording feature for PC games, as well as a gallery to view all recording screenshots and video.
  • A selection of widgets that enables users to quickly view websites, RSS feeds, or view things like certain game websites to the weather.

I’ve been using Raptr for the past day on a few different games and testing the functions, especially with Steam in mind. There are a few things that Raptr does really well for PC gamers/users who also play on console.

  1. It enables you to see who’s playing what on any console live. This is huge, especially for people with different groups of friends who come on at different times. I know some friends who play Halo nightly and others who have the latest titles. But they’re rarely the same people, and often I have no idea if they’re on unless they call/text/IM either ahead of time or as they’re playing for me to join. Raptr fixes that instantly through a simple notification tab that pops up as players come online and join a new game. This feature alone can, in many ways, revolutionize how people connect to play games with their friends.
  2. Raptr allows for easy communication across any major game platform. The other big problem plaguing XBL and PSN is that it’s really hard to communicate with someone except through the service directly. If I want to chat with a friend on XBL, the fastest way to do it is to turn my Xbox 360 on and get on voice chat with them. From the computer, I have to log into Xbox.com, go through 2-3 web pages, and then type up a message. And after that there is no notification when you get a message back.With Raptr, that isn’t a problem. Send a message through the Raptr client across PSN or XBL without doing anything but selecting the friend and typing the message. I’ve had some trouble sending messages through PSN, but on XBL it works flawlessly. On Steam Raptr just opens up a Steam chat window, so the service doesn’t actually support Steam outright.
  3. Raptr Rewards gives players even more incentive to play. For any gamer the awards for doing what players already do is pretty incredible. Everything from game and hardware discounts to free games and exclusive in-game items are available for doing simple things like achieving an Elite status in a game (which means earning 90% of the achievements in the game). In effect, you, the player, are rewarded for doing what you are already doing: playing the game. What’s more, it offers the additional incentive with a new goal to achieve: get at least this far in a game to get an actual, real-world prize. No other service offers anything like that today.

While testing Raptr on my gaming desktop, I noticed a few key things to remember. Since it’s free I recommend that anyone who owns either the PS3 or 360 give it a try. PC gamers may not find so much use for it, though it is convenient to have a list of friends across all platforms (Steam, Origin, xFire, etc.). Then again, I know plenty of PC gamers have already come up with a way that’s easy for them, though not necessarily right for the masses. Raptr addresses that issue.

  • Raptr doesn’t work with all PC games, though it does work for a lot of them. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (released today) isn’t available, but the game just released today. Medal of Honor: Warfighter does work with Raptr, but according to users it doesn’t work work well (Raptr also automatically disables the service from working on games they don’t suggest; MoH: W is one of those titles). Of my 100+ titles 20% are not outright supported by Raptr.
  • Raptr works extremely well on supported PC games, but not necessarily better than Steam’s or Origin’s in-game interfaces. All of them allow for screenshots, in-game chat, viewing friends lists, and have a web browser. Only Raptr has access to different game platforms, but if you only talk to PC gamers then it has little to offer in that respect.
  • Video recording will be supported by Raptr, but it isn’t as of yet. That’s one key feature worth waiting for because no other service offers it, and most applications that do record video well are pay-for applications. If Raptr does it for free, then it’s immediately worthwhile for the majority of players.
  • Widgets currently don’t support gaming keyboards with LCD displays (like the Logitech G15, MadCatz Strike 7, or Razer Deathstalker). That functionality may be built in, and at least for the Deathstalker can be forced on (since Razer’s keyboard has more functions than competing keyboards with LCD displays).

You can download Raptr for PC right now here. I highly recommend giving it a shot, especially if you play both PC and console games, or if you work/live/breathe on your PC and need a better, more efficient means of communicating with friends on consoles.










James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.