It’s no longer enough to simply be a good gamer. These days you have to thrust your achievements into the faces of the world, waving your high scores or broken records in front of friends and foes alike. Aurora Feint’s OpenFeint service is one of the iPhone’s options in this regard, offering gamers a chance to post scores online, link to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and interact with other players in chat lobbies.
It’s become popular, too, attracting more than 1 million gamers since it launched earlier this year, according to company officials. TransGaming is the latest to link up with the service, announcing that Puzzle Quest: Chapter 1 ‘“ Battle for Gruulkar will be updated to incorporate OpenFeint in the near future.
It’s a move that demonstrates the interest developers have about the service, according to Aurora Feint co-founder Jason Citron, who spoke to Slide to Play about his company’s “Private Label” initiative at the Casual Connect conference in Seattle.
‘OpenFeint is all about indie developers–we love them, and there’s no way we’d be where we are right now without them,’ Citron said. ‘But some larger companies want to have more direct control over how their games’ social features work, and that’s what Private Label is for. In terms of connected features and social discovery, it’s a ‘build or buy?’ decision for a lot of these larger publishers, and many of them are buying.’
Private Label aims to further expand the appeal of OpenFeint to both developers and customers alike, with developers soon able to apply their own branding to OpenFeint’s features. It will also be possible to restrict the service’s social recommendations to promote only their own games, creating a sort of “walled garden” within the greater ecosystem, Citron said.
In fact, the entire service is customizable. If a developer is looking for a particular feature that OpenFeint currently lacks, Aurora Feint will build it for them on a contractual basis, Citron said.
One such feature currently in demand is multiplayer–both asynchronous and real-time. ‘I’ve personally spent a lot of time developing multiplayer systems, and it’s definitely on our roadmap,’ Citron said. Location-based features also are picking up steam and could make it to OpenFeint in the near future.
As Aurora Feint continues its attempts to make OpenFeint as flexible and alluring as possible, developers have responded in kind, with more than 1,000 having already signed up for the system, according to the company, and more than 100 OpenFeint-enabled games on the App Store.