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Raptr grabs $14 million in new funding, launches Plays.tv video service

From a gaming social network to a Twitch competitor? The company has grabbed new funding as it expands its offering -- and Gamasutra speaks to founder Dennis Fong.

Twitch might have its first serious competitor, though Raptr founder and CEO Dennis Fong says that "there's room for both experiences in gamers' lives."

Raptr, which was founded as a social network for gamers and which, on top of that, already ships a client that optimizes settings for AMD, Nvidia, and Intel graphics and allows for in-game video recording as well, has launched a new client and service called Plays.tv, designed to let gamers share their "'pro' moments."

The company has picked up a new $14 million round of funding on the back of this move, too, led by AMD this time around. The two companies first tied up their app offering in 2013.

Earlier this month, the company phased out console support in its Raptr client to concentrate on PC gaming only.

The goal of Plays.tv, says Fong, is to make sharing the very best moments of gameplay as easy as sharing a screenshot -- and that's what makes it different from Twitch:

"Twitch is synchronous, long-form and one-to-many -- only about 1 percent of Twitch users are streaming their gameplay, and being a successful 'broadcaster' on Twitch requires both a time commitment and a skill set that not all gamers have; you have to be entertaining for long periods of time... Plays.tv, by contrast, is asynchronous, short-form, and anyone can be a creator/contributor. Every gamer's memorable moments are interesting, especially if they're distilled down to just the best parts..."

Fong expects Plays.tv to "have a life of its own" beyond the Raptr service, though any video captured by the Raptr client will be sent to Plays.tv. The new service has its own client, is its own site, and can process video taken with other capturing software, too.

The company also hopes to turn it into a "showcase" for eSports broadcasters, though it'll take a lot of work to lure them from Twitch, the incumbent in the space. Azubu, meanwhile, signs deals with pros to get them to broadcast on its service.

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