Only days after their acquisition by Japan’s social gaming giant GREE, OpenFeint is already making their presence known in the East. How so? By powering The9 Game Zone for 800 million mobile users in China.
While the name might not be that well known in the west, The9 Limited is a major player in the China’s bustling online gaming community. For a number of years they held the exclusive Chinese rights to publish World of Warcraft, and have since gone on to license a number of major MMO’s for the Chinese market, from Guild Wars to Free Realms. Last year The9 announced a big move into the world of mobile with a $100 million investment into the industry, as well as an investment of an undisclosed amount into OpenFeint. Today it looks like both investments are paying off.
“With the launch of The9 Game Zone powered by OpenFeint, this leading mobile social game platform is now officially introduced to Chinese users and developers,” said Mr. Jun Zhu, The9’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, “I hope that more developers will have co-operation with the platform and mobile game users can experience the fun in making friends through playing games and competition at The9 Game Zone.”
A localized version of OpenFeint for the Chinese market, The9 Game Zone allows traditional mobile games to implement social features, just like OpenFeint does. And while it doesn’t sound as though all of the traditional OpenFeint appear in this initial version of The9 Game Zone, things like cross-promotion, monetization through virtual goods and currency, advertising and more promised to appear in future updates.
It doesn’t look like this is the end for collaborations between OpenFeint and The9, either. Last month the two announced that they’d be using some of that aforementioned $100 million investment to help fund games that want to make the jump from iOS to Android, a platform that has been gaining some great traction in China.