Every Gamer knows this problem: You play a game and your have your favorite messenger running in the background. Right in a fight you get an incoming message. Depending on your computer, the game and the messenger, you either get killed, the game/computer crashes or something else happens. Also, you may not be able to “tab out” and reply.
Maybe it is the perfect timing to tell you about gaming messenger named Xfire.
Xfire™ is a new, free tool that automatically keeps track of when and where gamers are playing PC games online and lets their friends join them easily. It works regardless of game type, server browser, or gaming service that a player is using. Xfire eliminates the hassles of running multiple programs like IRC, instant messengers, or in-game friends lists to keep track of when and where a gamer’s friends are playing. It supports the best and the latest online PC games including server and non-server-based First Person Shooters, Real Time Strategy, and Role Playing Games.
But how good is Xfire really? It is time for a…
First Look – it is a free software you can download. So what do you expect? The website looks great, but it doesn’t help to evaluate the casing of the software as there is no casing.
Installation – using the usual installer. Nothing spectacular, but it allows you to chose the installation path and if you want to create icons for the desktop, start menu and quick launch. It also shows which files it is installing. 4 of 5 points
First Time – The look is cool, but of course you either have to create a free account first or you have to log in with your account to actually use the messenger. 5 of 5 points.
Requirements and Look – The requirements are low, the look is great. Full points.
Time – Installation begins with downloading the software: The download is pretty fast if you got broadband. And 10 MB aren’t that large either. The installation process is also quick, so just give a fast 4 of 5 points.
Complexity – The installation is easy, which means I end up with 5 of 5 points.
Usage and Performance
Requirements, Look and actual performance – Xfire has surprisingly low requirements:
- PC with a Pentium processor running Windows XP, 2000 or Vista
- 10 MB available hard drive space recommended
- Desktop resolution of 800 x 600 at 256 colors (1024 x 768 at 16 bit color or higher recommended)
- Internet Explorer 5.0 with Service Pack 1 or higher
- Internet connection (broadband recommended)
It runs smooth on my old computer and it runs even smoother on the computer I use to write this article. I’d give full points, but the fact that you need Internet access and Internet Explorer makes me give 4 of 5 points.
Complexity – Xfire is easy to use, but there are some parts you will only use when you running Xfire as your major messenger -> 4 of 5 points.
Learning Curve – Using this gaming messenger, you do it by using your intuition. Full points.
Bugs – Unfortunately there are a few bugs in the software. Occasionally the file transfer won’t work, a supported game is not recognized or, although very rare, Xfire crashes without a reason. 3 of 5 points.
Xfire is a very, very useful messenger. At least for me. It allows me to keep track of my gaming times, play a game and chat with my friends without having to “tab out” or getting issues with the messenger running in the background. Unfortunately there are some games which are not supported, but there is hope that they will be supported in the near future. There are many people in the community who suggest new games for support and so far the developers listen to the community. You can even suggest features or, for the more experienced user, create your own Xfire skin (or you just chose one of the many existing already).
I believe Xfire deserves the 4.4 points out of 5 possible points. It is one of the best messengers for the gamer. There are a few things I had to leave out as those don’t belong to a review. I’ll write another article in the near future to talk about some of the more advanced parts of Xfire.