Green Man Gaming , the independent online game shop, have announced that they'll be merging with Playfire , a social network that tracks the games you and your friends are currently playing, offering stats and badges to reward your gaming achievements. The companies won't be smushing into a single amoeba-like entity, they'll exist alongside each other, offering cross-service perks like easy access to GMG accounts from Playfire, and vice versa.
The result could provide an online store with more detailed social features than Steam, something that other competitors like EA's Origin haven't developed yet. It's tricky to make inroads into digital distribution, but Stardock's Impulse service made a concerted attempt before being absorbed by Gamestop and CD Projekt's Good Old Games has grown from a niche purveyor of classics to a more generalist game store. Can GMG/Playfire mount an assault on Steam's iron gates? It'll take a while, but a bit more competition is always healthy.
GMG managing director Paul Sulyok is certainly happy. "We've long been fans of Playfire – its vibrant community of gamers have bought the service to life," he says. "As part of Green Man Gaming, we're committed to growing Playfire and building on its many successes. We'll be working closely to introduce new features, and will unite Green Man's consumers with Playfire's community to offer exclusive content and incentives for members.”