Xbox players have been taking advantage of a social overlay to their gameplay for some time, with players able to send text, voice and picture messages as well as voice chat with each other without having to quit the game they're playing. On the PC and Mac, Steam's overlay facility allows anyone using Steam (which, to be fair, is probably most PC gamers) to communicate with one another and even browse the web while their game is running. And Raptr's client software allows players to not only chat to each other using popular IM services, but to track their gameplay time and achievements, too.
So do we need another "social plugin" for games? Israel-based Overwolf thinks so, and it's taken care to ensure that its offering provides something above and beyond what you can already get from Raptr and Steam. Rather than a simple IM facility, the Overwolf software provides a complete suite of social tools for use in game. Players can access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, the web, email and a variety of other services without having to leave their game.
Perhaps most noteworthy is the video capture functionality. Overwolf allows players to capture a stream of video from the game they're playing and immediately upload it to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube -- again, without having to Alt-Tab out of the game. Great for players who like to share their gameplay experiences and cool moves online. It's all very well telling your friends that you took down Ragnaros in 5 seconds, but it's far better if you can prove it.
"Publishers are looking for ways to ignite the viral potential of online games, but integration has been difficult, especially with all of the demands of operating live titles," said Uri Marchand, CEO of Overwolf. "We're offering a way to add this functionality with zero effort required on the publisher's side. We've been getting amazing feedback from gamers telling us they love Overwolf, and it's a great way to engage friends and share their gaming life with their real lives, which has the effect of bringing more users into online games."
Overwolf has launched its beta now, and you can try it out for yourself here. A few publishers have also incorporated the tech directly into their games, with the most notable example so far being popular free to play MMORPG Runes of Magic.
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Bring Your Social Life In-Game with Overwolf