Shawn Fanning To Launch Rupture, an Online Gaming Community

Shawn Fanning of Napster fame plans within the next month or so to launch Rupture, a virtual social community for online gamers. He raised seed money from a group of investors, including Ron Conway and Joi Ito.
Heather Green

Shawn Fanning of Napster fame says he plans within the next month or so to launch Rupture, a virtual social community for online gamers. He raised seed money from a group of investors, including Ron Conway and Joi Ito. (to a short item I did in this week's magazine that's unfortunately still behind the firewall.)

Rupture was inspired by Fanning's newfound love of online gaming. During the past year and a half, he's become a big fan of World of Warcraft, joining a guild and climbing up the ranks of players. The more he played, though, the more he became frustrated with how hard it is to communicate with other players, organize game playing together and learn about other gamers' identities, online and offline.

I haven't seen the service but Fanning explained it to me this way: Using an add on or a software download, Rupture taps into the game to automatically pull together character names, profiles, and resources, and publish them on a personalized site. Rupture will also pull together stats to create individual and guild rankings and provide a place for guilds to organize their playing. As Rupture tracks each member's playing over time, these personalized profiles evolve. And players will be able to chat in groups or with other individuals and download other addons and game demos.

Rupture is starting with World of Warcraft, which is played by 7.5 million gamers. But it also plans to pull together information from and offer services for other games.

This is the second post-Napster startup that Fanning has founded. Snocap, the online media licensing broker unveiled in December 2004, took a while to get off the ground but began announcing deals with services this year, capped off by a significant agreement with MySpace this past September.