As the video gaming environment continues to diversify, the online sharing community Imgur has launched a gaming platform. Melee doesn’t offer original content, but it enables the 300-million strong Imgur community to benefit from a new feature set.
Melee is intended to accelerate social sharing with gaming, while also enabling gamers to subscribe to games that they’re particularly passionate about, in order to get a feel for memes and gameplay clips related to them.
The purpose of Melee is to create an enlarged community around certain games, and ensure that gamers can keep up with all of the latest content, news, and in-jokes. The iOS version of Melee has already gone live, while the Android version of the system is set to debut in the first quarter of next year.
Imgur founder and CEO Alan Schaaf told Techcrunch that there is a real market for the Melee concept. “Gamers are constantly taking recordings and screenshots of the games they’re playing. But we found that there’s no place for gamers to share those clips. We want to give these highlights a home,” Schaaf asserted.
The platform clearly has huge potential, as 92% of regular Imgur users have deemed themselves to be ‘gamers’. When coupled with the fact that Imgur is a platform of growing significance, it’s clear that Melee could create a significant amount of buzz in the gaming world.
Imgur debuted ten years ago, and hasn’t become one of the really big names in the social space, but has steadily grown into a popular platform. The social sharing site has ensured that everyone gets the same experience when they initially access the site, which has helped build a community feel, defined by ongoing gags and humor.
The growth of gaming in recent years has been almost inexorable, with platforms such as Twitch ensuring that the industry is now more commercially significant than virtually any other form of entertainment. Melee will try to capitalize on both of these trends, by creating an in-group feel around huge titles such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, and FIFA.
While Imgur has yet to confirm this as an intention of the platform, there is also potential for Melee to branch out into other fields. Music, movies and sport communities could also spring up, and the platform seems ideally suited to achieve this, if indeed Imgur deems it to be preferable.
It’s also interesting that Melee takes a mobile-first approach, as Imgur actually took several years to establish a mobile presence. When the site was first founded, Imgur was very much concentrated on being web-only, although it has since developed a sizeable mobile following as well.
It will be interesting to see how Melee fits into a crowded gaming marketplace, with established platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming already popular, and the likes of Google Stadia also having recently gone live. But the Melee platform has impressed those who have seen it so far, and it could add something unique the vast gaming community.