The Xbox 360 has achievements (points awarded for the completion of game-specific challenges) and Playstation 3’s Home will allow players to exhibit different trophies. Arcades had highscores as early as 1976 and a Sony representative once told me that the experience of seeing your own name on the screen was the driving force behind the PlayStation equivalent to achievements (and not the drive to merely copy Microsoft). In short: Playing is about bragging. A game, by definition, involves an artificial conflict, so naturally there's always a winner and a loser. Accordingly, it's not very surprising that Huizinga's classic Homo Ludens gives the impression that this what it's all about, that all forms of play are based in mankind's urge to brag. It's an anthropological constant. And so it's not surprising that Gamestrata - the first social network for cross-plattform bragging - was recently launched. Writes Gigaom:
GameStrata has signed deals to publish player stats of several popular games, including Activision’s Guitar Hero 3... and EA’s Battlefield 2, and in a smart move that may make it the universal social network for gamers, will feature player-driven platform stats from the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii consoles as well.
From my point of view, that may be the most attractive value proposition — an aggregated collection of play data that allows game developers to better reach this coveted demographic.
Mankind's natural urge to brag in combination with GamerQ, GameStat’s own native point system that is rewarding activity in the community (answering questions, inviting friends etc.) and will (supposedly) translate awarded points into some kind of reward, surely makes this a network to keep an eye on. After all, bloggers, obsessed with making the top lists, getting the highest technorati rankings and the most feed subscribers, aren’t necessarily immune to the whole bragging thing either.