I work for a new video game design company. We're releasing a social game (browser and tablet based) in less than a months time. The game has strong financial and celebrity backing, and we're expecting it to get extremely large. We're looking to create forums based around the game, and to provide the players with a community in which to discuss everything game related. I have been tasked to produce a document of recommendation regarding which forum software we should use.
My top 3 considerations so far, are either
I have spent hours doing the research myself, so I know the basic pro's and con's of each forum software, however, I still want as much advice as possible, so what do you guys think?
The forums need a heavy emphasis on the sense of society, and ideally we want it to be linked in with peoples Facebooks, Twitters and blogs as much as possible. We also need restricted area's of the site solely for certain user groups and contributors. We need a mobile friendly version too. Cost isn't a HUGE issue although still taken into account.
I'm weary of phpBB because it's free (as silly as that sounds) and I'm aware of the old saying 'you get what you pay for' - on browsing phpBB forums, I've also noticed heavy amounts of SPAM by bots - is this a notorious issue? vBulletin is cheaper than Vanilla and is a annual fee, which is appealing, but I dont think the latest version has much of a good reputation? And vanilla is expensive, but offers cloud hosting and a lot of support (plus a good admin control panel for easy alterations)- however, vanilla doesnt seem like a COMPLETE forum in some respects - it's missing private messaging and poll functions I believe?
Anyway, what do you suggest guys?
any help would be awesome.