Launched in February of 2009, OpenFeint was the first useful leader board and multiplayer matching service for iOS games. It was originally developed by Jason Citron’s Aurora Feint development team, and went on to become an SDK that iOS, and later Android, developers could include in their mobile games without having to build their own multiplayer, leader board, or achievement system.
In 2011, social gaming company GREE purchased OpenFeint for a reported $104 million.
Today, GREE announced that OpenFeint will no longer be supported, and that the service will end on December 14, 2012.
iOS devices will soon be the world’s most popular game console.
Apple’s iOS devices have had a huge impact on gaming, and more and more people are choosing to get their kicks on the iPhone and iPad rather than dedicated handheld consoles from the likes of Sony and Nintendo. By the end of this year, analysts expect Game Center accounts on iOS to surpass the 200 million milestone, making it the world’s biggest gaming platform.
Back when Apple first announced iOS game matchmaking service, Game Center, everyone thought it was going to be the death of the existing services like OpenFeint.
It wasn’t. With its founder openly laughing “bring it on” in the face of GameCenter, OpenFeint reassessed its strengths: the ability to offer cross platform multiplayer between iOS and Android devices, and a thriving virtual goods market.
It looks like OpenFeint’s strategy has paid off. According to a report released by OpenFeint, their community has actually doubled to an incredible fifty million users since Game Center first launched. Games on the network have also more than doubled since Game Center was first announced, and now the OpenFeint compatible games library has 119% more titles than it did mere months ago.
Pretty incredible. Apple entering a software niche with its own official product is often times seen as a death sentence, but if OpenFeint’s success proves anything, it’s that smart, on-your-feet thinking and a willingness to evolve can make a direct competition with Apple into a positive thing.
Once Apple announced its own baked-in Game Center for iOS, OpenFeint — the previous go-to mobile social gaming network — seemed to lose a bit of its luster, but the guys Aurora Feint seem to have a plan and they’re falling through with it: starting today, OpenFeint is now available on the Android operating system.
But Aurora Feint’s strategy in dealing with Game Center isn’t to abandon iOS. Oh no: this news is very relevant to iOS gamers because now that OpenFeint is on Android, you can now take part in cross-platform multiplayer games, achievements, leaderboards and friending in Fruit Ninja, MiniSquadron, Super Slyder, The Moron Test and Tic-Tac Toe… with fifteen other titles to follow this month.
At the very least, the relevance here to iOS gamers is they now have twice as many people to play Tic Tac Toe against… I just can’t wait for iOS vs. Android OpenFeint deathmatch tournaments.