I work for a video game design company that is launching a brand new social game (mobile/tablet and browser versions) within the next couple of months. The game has large financial and celebrity backing, and we're expecting it to form a very large online community based around it. We obviously want to create a forum that allows for players of the game to communicate and build relationships with eachother.
In looking for forum software I have considered vBulletin and VanillaForums.com, I'm currently leaning towards Xenforo after hearing good things. vBulletins latest version has got a lot of criticism surrounding it, and VanillaForums is extremely pricey, as well as looking less like a tradition forum (in my opinion) and more like a collection of comments?
I have main requirements for the forums however, and I need to know whether Xenforo can provide these for me...
1) The Forums need to be as heavily involved in other social media platforms as possible - is it possible to Login to Xenforo forums using an individuals Twitter or Facebook accounts? if not, can I at least put Twitter RSS feeds on the main forum page?
2) How customisable is the layout/design of the forums? I want ours to look as professional and customised as this: aeroforcegaming.com/forums
the actual design for the forum will be made by our in house team - how difficult, editing wise, would it be to upload designs to Xenforo to create a similar look to the link above?
3) I want us to be able to post videos on the main page of the forum, and I want users to have the ability to post videos into their posts - is this standard on Xenforo?
4) Will we have the option of customising the advertisements on Xenforo? its important for us to be able to put adverts from the sponsors of our games, on the forums.
5) We need private messaging, mass e-mail mailing from admins, private forums for selected members and usergroups/ranks - I'm guessing these are standard on Xenforo?
6) I noticed an option on the Xenforo payment page, $50 (or pounds, I dont remember) for someone at Xenforo to upload the software onto our servers for us? this would be ideal. Will that person ensure that the forum is basically up and running on our server? so that we know its working. Obviously, I know that we will then be expected to customise and edit the forum from then on out, I just wouldn't mind knowing a tiny bit more about this option.
7) It is integral that our forums be mobile friendly. Are Xenforo forums mobile friendly, or is there a mobile suite package (as there is with vBulletin) that I can opt to purchase?
I think that's it. I must say that if I can be assured of all of the above, then there's a strong chance we'll go with Xenforo.
Any help or advise would be great!