Jetpack Joyride Update Removes Dying OpenFeint Service

A recent update to the smash-hit iPhone game Jetpack Joyride marks an important day in iOS social gaming history — OpenFeint has been removed from the game. As the developers strive to make it “as fast and stable as possible,” they made the decision to remove the dying and clunky social gaming platform in favor of exclusively using Apple’s Game Center. I’ve tested it myself, and the absence of the service is obvious, because the app runs a bit smoother on my — now outdated — iPad 2.

OpenFeint started as a service in February 2009, not long after the release of the iPhone 3G and the iPod touch 2G. Like many other apps, OpenFeint has been pushed out of the iOS ecosystem by competing features implemented by Apple — in this case, Game Center. According to Polygon, OpenFeint is finally shutting its doors on December 14th. The service has now been acquired by Japanese company GREE and has been shut down in favor of their own similar platform.

This update to Jetpack Joyride is probably just the first of a string of app updates with an “OpenFeint removed” note. While it is possible for game developers to migrate their OpenFeint services over to the new GREE platform, I predict that most will ditch the service entirely because Game Center has undoubtedly taken foothold over iOS social gaming. The full update release notes are after the break. (more…)

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OpenFeint faces new level of competition

OpenFeint, a social gaming network that is integrated into many App Store applications, will soon face a new level of competition. Alongside the release of iPhone OS 4.0, Apple is releasing Game Center which is a social gaming network of their own. Game Center will feature friends lists, leaderboards, achievements, and matchmaking amongst other features. OpenFeint is currently used by over 12 million people and Jason Citron, founder of OpenFeint, says he is not worried just yet. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.

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All Hail Openfeint

Many of the larger developers chose to go alone and set up social networking portals to provide a hub for their own gaming communities to compare achievements, scores, chat and make challenges.  Ngmoco set up Plus+ and Gameloft started Live.  However the gaming network that stands out and connects the rest is AuroraFeint’s Openfeint network.  Openfeint’s only real competitor is Chillingo’s Crystal, which is good but has been slow to be implemented by developers since it’s launch mid-2009.

Openfeint truly connects you while other social gaming networks either ‘dis-connect’ you by virtue of their smaller catalogue or, as in Crystal’s case, were just a bit too late on the scene.  Its success is evidenced by the range and quality of games that use it.  It connects players of TAITO’s Space Invaders Infinity Gene, the classic Fieldrunners, Origin8′s Sentinel series and, new shining star on the touchscreen gaming scene, Trenches.  And if you don’t own at least one of these then where have you been?

In early January Openfeint launched their standalone app. It allows you to manage your Openfeint profile, import friends from Twitter and Facebook, manage your games, check out your and your friends’ scores and achievements, issue challenges, chat and much, much more.  If that hasn’t hooked you to downloading it then consider that every day they highlight either an Openfeint connected free game of note or offer a paid game for free (today it’s a great chopper game called Apache Lander, yesterday it was the basic but highly addictive A Christmas Santa).  And to boot the Openfeint app is free.

So Gameloft, Chillingo, Ngmoco and other social network providers, get on the bus.  Have a quiet word with Openfeint and get your networks linked in with theirs. You know it makes sense.  Openfeint tag themselves ‘the coolest thing since sliced awesome’ and the hype stands up.  iPtF community gamers who want to hook up with like-minded individuals, can post their Openfeint IDs in the thread here.

Openfeint App – App Store Link

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