Android users who’ve felt disappointed with the gaming options they’ve seen so far might just be in for a pleasant surprise the next time they visit the Android Market. OpenFeint, the popular iPhone social gaming network, has gone cross-platform to Android as of today – and they’re bringing a slew of great developers with them.
“Android users deserve great games but haven’t had access to enough of them. That changes today,” said Jason Citron, CEO of Aurora Feint. “Hundreds of thousands of people activate Android phones every day, and there is a clear need for high quality games in the marketplace. The major wireless carriers are partnering with us to select the best games from iOS – like Fruit Ninja – to bring to Android.”
A number of top notch games will be getting their OpenFeint Android launch this month, including Mega Jump, Must.Eat.Birds, Solipskier, and MiniSquadron. When all is said and done, Android is expected to see 20 OpenFeint-enabled games in its first month alone. It may be a small number when compared to the 3000 OpenFeint games on iOS devices, but it’s also a great first step that should help introduce Android gamers to the experience without completely overwhelming them.
“This is a big step for OpenFeint and an even bigger step for Android as it becomes a serious mobile gaming platform,” said Jonathan Goldberg, Analyst at Deutsche Bank Equity Research. “OpenFeint ushered in mobile online gaming for iOS devices and we think they’ll lead the revolution on Android.”
In addition to the achievements, leaderboards, and friend-tracking that OpenFeint is known for, Android gamers will also get their own Feint Spotlight app, which will help users to discover new games and even win prizes.
Some iOS game developers, like The Moron Test‘s DistinctDev, see OpenFeint’s cross-platform nature as a way to level the playing field for smartphone gaming; “Taking The Moron Test cross-platform has been a great success for us, and OpenFeint integration on Android is a huge step towards parity,” says Mike Monaco, Co-Founder and COO of DistinctDev. “Now that the leaderboards, achievements and friend lists are on both versions, it has become almost completely irrelevant which smartphone platform you use to play The Moron Test.”
Could this be the shot in the arm that Android gaming so desperately needs? Considering the number of developers that have jumped on board with OpenFeint for Android – from Halfbrick to Hudson – it’s entirely possible that this could be the first step towards the “parity” Mike Monaco is talking about.
Even if it’s not, I’m still looking forward to squashing the Solipskier scores of my Android-toting friends tonight.