For me personally, one of the most frustrating gaming moments is knowing that an awesome multiplier game is releasing but all my real life friends are either broke, not into it or buying it on another platform. Nothing kills a multiplayer game experience faster than a community that is outright hostile or barren. Eric Doty, Director of User Acquisition at Overdog, puts it like this:
“Xbox One has one of the most active game communities in the industry, but there has been a need for players to be able to connect with like-minded gamers, not just random people. We want to take some of the anxiety out of being matched up with someone online. Trying to find someone that will help you finish a co-op mission in Destiny or build a castle in Minecraft right now that loves watching Red vs Blue? Overdog can find the right person for you.”
When a player opens up the app for the first time they will be asked to like a few topics and pick a game they want to play. This jump-starts the algorithm. The more topics you like via your profile, the better the matchmaking potential. Think of it like a free eHarmony for making Xbox Live Friends.
As of now, Overdog is launching with almost a thousand topics and plans to add more. Current topics range from games, movies music, communities, celebrities and more. While the opening screen asks you to pick from five major AAA games, there is the option afterwards to select from a delightfully large sampling of XBLA/ID@xbox titles (I’ve already swapped out Halo for IDARB personally). At this time, there no easy way to search specifically for indie games as typing indie shows up as mostly music. XBLA, ID@xbox and Indie Games aren’t currently search terms.
Overdog isn’t perfect, but it looks to evolve with community feedback and solve a problem that many online and offline gamers have. I’m curious to see how my own matches increase as a wider audience gains access to the program. Hopefully someone else will put IDARB.