Last week I received a press release noting the beta for a new service I had not heard of before called GamrCred that was, in simple terms, an aggregation site for gamer reputation.
What it does is it gathers together three distinct areas of gamer life and quantifies it into a color-coded belt system of rank. Those three areas are:
Play: The hours and achievements you earn from the games you play on networks such as Xbox LIVE, Playstation Network and Steam are measured and given a rank from Newbie to Boss, the more you play the higher you go.
Say: The engagement you receive on social media and your favorite game communities about the games you play.
Respect: The amount of GamrCred Respect you earn from your friends on all your platforms and communities.
Sounds pretty cool, right? The service is in closed beta at the moment, and as the email invited me to request a beta code I went ahead and did so, but was shocked to discover upon redeeming it that the company that runs the service actually expected me (and everyone else who wanted to sign up) to hand over my user credentials for all of the gaming services I am active upon! Xbox LIVE, PSN, Steam... Not only was there no way I was going to do that, I actually felt the need to write about it to them, in preparation for writing about it professionally because it was such a glaringly obvious security issue...
So I did write to them, and was amazed at their reply, which was to tell me that they had been discussing the issue today (it seems I was not the first member of the games press to call that into question) and that they had made the decision to remove that requirement -- which may sound like little more than lip service if you are jaded (like me) but then they put their words into action, and within an hour of the email exchange the requirement to provide security creds for the gaming services had indeed been removed!
I am not completely finished in evaluating the services offered -- and I am a little stunned that I only rated a Blue Belt on the service (and here I thought I was a serious gamer LOL) -- but I can say that so far I am impressed by their integrity and concern for the community that they are in the process of building, and I plan to recommend it to my mates and especially the mates I game with.
If you are a gamer you should check it out -- point your browser at https://www.gamrcred.com and after you sign up be sure to add me to your list of followed if not friends!
Not only do you get your prowess evaluated but they offer a number of visual badges for you to use to show off that status on the web, on chat boards, and I suppose even in email if you wanted to... Here is the collection of badges that they currently offer:
Large Standard Badge
Small Standard Badge
Large Vertical Banner
Small Vertical Banner
In addition to the above badges (the bottom pair allow you to insert your own custom message into the banner, which means you can not only show off your "Belt" color/level, but you can also express yourself adding anything from a mood statement to your personal philosophy... I suspect that for most gamers that custom message spot will be used to show their gamer motto -- which for me is a simple but highly appropriate message that communicates my own personal philosophy on gaming, which is Pizza First, Then War!
Seriously though, as odd as this feels to be saying, after contemplating what the GamrCred service offers and its value to the gaming community in general, I cannot escape the gut feeling that it is really about time someone came up with something like this!
I am no stranger to the concept of gamer cred, reputation, and status -- in fact I have written about it in many forms as part of my duties as a writer, games journo, and columnist... Check out the following pieces, articles, and observations to see what I mean:
- Gamer Score 101 - Gaming Update (28 Dec 10)
- Ringing Your Bell -- Taking Credit for Your Gaming Prowess - Gaming Update (5 Aug 11)
- The Impact of Achievements and Trophies - Gaming Update (26 Dec 11)
- Evaluating Your Mad Gamer Skills - Gaming Update (24 Jan 12)
- Xbox LIVE Achievements and Gamerscores -- Game On @ Cape Cod Times (13 Mar 12)
I plan on keeping an eye on the GamrCred service and I will be writing about it as well, because I suspect it is going to carve out its own niche and end up being one of the most popular gamer rep services and sites in existence... That and the unique approach that they have taken suggests to me that they have a very firm handle upon and, perhaps more important, a full understanding of the many different elements that go into establishing -- and defining -- a gamer's reputation.