I’m sure most of you have heard of (and probably used as well) Napster. Napster changed the way we trade, discover and, most of all, download our music forever when it was launched in June 1999. After a very successful run and a whole bunch of lawsuits and pressure from the record industry, Napster closed in July 2001. It was the first of the massively popular peer-to-peer file sharing systems, although it was not fully peer-to-peer since it used central servers to maintain lists of connected systems and the files they provided, while actual transactions were conducted directly between machines. Even though traffic was abundant and the sharing services were practically flawless, there were many other problems and Napster was not a very profitable business. In fact, after the final blow of lawsuits, it had to file for Chapter 11 and liquidate it’s assets.
One of the founders of Napster, Shawn Fanning has been hard at work on a new startup called Rupture: “All Games, All Platforms. Connect, Share, Achieve. Rupture builds a profile for you based on your game play. It’s not like other profiles, however. We automatically pull information from many video games. Did you beat the Drums Tour in Rock Band on Expert? All your friends will know”. Rupture has been in beta for quite some time and so a public release hasn’t happened yet.
It turns out that Shawn Fanning will finally get some payback for his hard work because Electronic Arts has been keeping an eye on the site. EA is buying Rupture for $30 million in a deal that should be announced soon. They are looking to integrate this technology in their business plan because the social networking aspect based around Massively Multiplayer games is something EA has been wanting to add for a while now.
Shawn will be working for EA once the deal goes through. Looks like setting up a few Internet Startups may eventually get you someplace cool!