For many PC gamers, getting a group of friends together to engage in online battles in such multiplayer games as Unreal Tournament 2004 or Battlefield 1942 has always been a major problem. The issue was simple but annoying: Short of putting all your pals on a conference call, there was no easy way to muster them.
Mike Cassidy and former world Quake champion Dennis “Thresh” Fong came up with an answer. They called it Xfire.
The free instant-messaging program effectively solved the scheduling riddle, letting PC gamers know when their friends were online bouncing around as electrons in online games and reach them in a flash.
Read the complete story. (Wired)