Angel Munoz joined the interactive entertainment industry in 1995 by launching the first
world-class online publication for video games and in June 1997 launched the world’s
first sports league for video gamers, which helped propel the multibillion dollar esports
industry. Recently, Angel has focused his attention on the intersection of video game
culture and social media technology, launching Gaming Tribe earlier this year with the
global support of Logitech G and AMD Gaming.
1. Tell us more about Gaming Tribe and how it stands out from the crowd.
The Gaming Tribe social media network first started as an authentication system to our
popular giveaways, but last year we realized that we had a unique opportunity to
augment the experience of our followers by providing them a next-generation social
On March 10, 2014 we launched Gaming Tribe 4.0 with a number of social media
elements that are similar to other social networks, i.e. liking, sharing, commenting,
posting, etc. Although to address our core demographic we gamified a few aspects of
the social interface.
First, we introduced a verification process, which rewards members for completing their
profiles and remaining active on the network. Close to 1,000 members completed the
somewhat rigorous verification process and have received a special icon badge,
unlocked the ability to upload photos to the network, and are entered into exclusive
Secondly, we created Loot Drop, a patent-pending technology that randomly rewards
users with a sponsored prize just for being active on the network. The Loot Drop
interface is unique and fun. Here’s a short video of a live Loot Drop on Gaming Tribe
We’ve also created a number of leaderboards, a badge system to recognize either an
accomplishment or status, and a cover subscription system that permits members to
subscribe to a sponsor’s cover image and help promote the network’s sponsors. I refer
to this option as “reverse-advertising.” Thus far, over 10,000 members have opted to
display sponsor cover images on their Gaming Tribe profile pages, which have resulted
in two million additional views.
We’ve over-engineered Gaming Tribe for the most demanding audience in the world,
but also wanted the experience to be fun, engaging and unique. The real highlight may
just be the almost complete absence of spam, trolls or unsavory posts on the network,
partly due to our unique policy requiring members to use real names, addresses and
profile photos. As an added benefit, a great number of female gamers have also joined
Gaming Tribe, and in their own words feel “safe and relaxed” while interacting with other
members of the community.
2. What are some highlights of the Gaming Tribe technology?
Our backend is primarily written in PHP. Our servers run Lighttpd web server behind
HAProxy load balancers. We use both MySQL and MongoDB as primary database
systems. We cache all the content using Redis in-memory storage and our delayed
processing is powered by messaging queue from RabbitMQ. The backend is written in
Java for processing logs and managing APIs. We use Node.js with Socket.io to keep a
direct connection to all online users. Our search indexing is powered by Lucene, which
is wrapped by an ElasticSearch API. There are also some Python scripts for processing
logs. The frontend uses jQuery to manage DOM manipulations and Bootstrap for UI
We’ve developed several proprietary modules to make browsing of Gaming Tribe faster
and more enjoyable. One of them is Rocket Speed Technology™ which is a proprietary
system consisting of several layers of caching and data storage allowing fast feed
generation on-the-fly. A more recent development is Fast Load Technology, which
works on the frontend and backend and speeds up navigation by minimizing the amount
of data being sent to the user for each page. Besides reducing network traffic it also
helps save some processing power and data transmission on mobile devices by
preventing an entire page from re-rendering during navigation.
A month ago we re-launched Gaming Tribe using Responsive Web Design (RWD),
which provides an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices – from
mobile phones to desktop computer monitors. We believe that we are the first social
media network to be fully optimized for any screen size, eliminating the need to use a
dedicated application for accessing our network from a mobile device.
3. Privacy is a key discussion point in social media networks today; we’ve found
1) We never sell or share user data with advertisers, sponsors or third parties.
2) We do not display advertisement on the network.
3) We enforce a real-name policy, but allow users full control over their personal
information, including the ability to delete their information from our servers.
Out of the three principles the one that seems to attract the most attention is a
member’s ability to completely delete a profile and related activities from our servers.
Once again we believe that we may be the only social media network with this unique
feature. The deletion is permanent and irreversible, as some of our members have
discovered while giving that option a test. 🙂
4. We’ve seen social spikes for new networks like Ello and then they slowly fade
away. How are you maintaining a stable, positive growth?
We think their disappearance from the landscape is due to the fact that all of the new
social networks choose to emulate Facebook, and think they can take on the giant of
We on the other hand created a laser-focused network about technology and video
games that we believe is complimentary to Facebook and Twitter. We have grown to
almost 250,000 members through word of mouth, without relying on advertising or mass marketing. Our renowned giveaways do help get some new people through the door,
but most members remain on our network to stay connected with our global community.
Our steady, calculated growth allows us the opportunity to scale our services without
the constant downtimes of other new networks. We plan ahead, before hitting
bandwidth or server limits, and now we’re preparing our global infrastructure for a more
rapid rate of growth during 2015.
5. Connecting your social network to wearables, now that’s being a really early
adopter of technology! What are your thoughts on that?
In our opinion technology wearables are, without question, the next technological
frontier. Therefore, we registered early to become a software developer for the Razer
Nabu. I have been testing the Nabu myself, and really like the discreet notification
system of this smartband and Razer’s open development platform.
We see enormous potential to use wearable technology for our community, for example
as a way to identify other Gaming Tribe members while in proximity to each other,
become instant friends on the network with a simple gesture (like a high-five) and
receive discreet notifications of network messages and alerts.