It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when high scores were something you kept to yourself, your gaming achievements limited to boasts on the school playground. Now, social networks are lining up to link themselves to our gaming prowess, and the iPhone appears to be leading the way.
In the last month alone, Slide to Play has covered developments in some of the networks at the forefront of social gaming, with OpenFeint and Plus+ recently stealing the headlines. The latest development is that a service called Scoreloop has secured â‚¬2 million in funding, adding yet another major player into the mix.
Zombie Pub Crawl, one of the iPhone games that currently supports Scoreloop.
According to Scoreloop CEO Marc Gumpinger, this type of expansion is very much in the German outfit’s sights. ‘Scoreloop is the pioneer of player challenges in mobile games and offers the most advanced implementation of what has shown to be the core of mobile social gaming,’ Gumpinger told us. ‘Challenges can be played among friends, against buddies on social networks like Facebook or against just about any other player.’
But it’s not just gamers Scoreloop wants to attract. The new funding is meant to drive interest among developers, and the service is already proving popular, according to Gumpinger, because it’s provided free of charge.
‘For indie developers and large publishers, Scoreloop provides features that enhance games’ value, attract more users from social networks, increase user stickiness, drive discovery and generate additional revenues,’ he said. ‘We now have over 500 developers signed up with more and more Scoreloop-enabled games in Apple App Store each week. More and more of the bigger publishers are adopting the Scoreloop technology in their top titles.’
Gumpinger says the new injection of cash is a sign that the service is ‘here to stay’, saying that the money will be used to ‘develop the technology, add support for new mobile platforms, and continue the company’s focus on international business development with larger publishers and portals.’ But Scoreloop already has strong connections with studios, Gumpinger says, namely due to the fact that Scoreloop itself doesn’t make any games, thereby offering no competition for the developers signing up.
‘It is the killer combination of offering industry leading technology and our focus on being an infrastructure company that drives our success among these indie developers and bigger publishers,’ he said.
It’s a plus for Scoreloop, since OpenFeint and Plus+ are developed by studios with their own games in development. But the service’s biggest selling point is its unique challenge system. Players use “coins” purchased or earned for free by downloading games, inviting people to the network or posting a high score, which players can then use to gamble on winning challenges against their friends.
It remains to be seen just how comfortable the masses will be with paying to challenge their friends. Scoreloop itself is free, but its currency comes with certain strings attached. That said, the developers do take home a share of the coins spent on their game, and in the future, the possibility of actually using Scoreloop as a retail platform, with studios selling new levels or add-ons to their games for coins, means it has the potential to bring in considerable revenue for any developers that sign up. Coincidentally, it may also encourage gamers to get the most out of their titles, and avoid parting with too much cash for extra coins.
It’ll take time to see just how Scoreloop’s network develops, but the injection of funds into the service means that, if nothing else, we’ll soon have a chance to find out.