From OpenFeint to open beta: GREE launches worldwide mobile gaming network

Having acquired OpenFeint over a year ago, developer, publisher, and mega-company GREE has kept their cards pretty close to the chest regarding their plans for the technology. Until today. In a formal announcement sent to Gamezebo, the multinational mobile-social gaming giant marked May 23rd as the kick-off for the GREE platform. Also known as? World domination, phase B.

Like Papaya Mobile before it, GREE is a developer planting its flag firmly on the shores of social networking, offering game creators a software development kit (SDK) with which they can integrate social features like chat, game invites, leaderboards and achievements into their titles. For those unfamiliar, think of it like a version of Apple’s Game Center run by a specific company. In exchange for access to their suite of add-ons, player base, and oftentimes promotion, both parties arrange a revenue split of the money made in-game.

And while GREE wasn’t in a sharing mood about the dollars, they did tout some impressive stats about what might be in it for developers. Namely? The 230 million-plus user base already hooked on titles produced by the company – what they call a “global player base.” The developer site also boasts fast and easy migration from OpenFeint, which might be either enticing or unsettling, depending on your attachment to the latter platform (which it looks like GREE may be trying to uproot internally).

It’s certainly exciting to see another company entering the game network arena, especially on a platform where choice is freeing and the default option is so poorly designed (seriously, Apple, what happened there!?). With that said, GREE’s talk about the chance to deliver a “unique and customized game” through the platform only holds so much weight unless they plan to bolster it with social features outside the norm. More importantly, with the bread and butter of the company’s bottom line coming from an Asian gamer base and titles with highly local flare, it will be interesting to see how much real promotional power they can offer developers creating content that may be culturally different.

But GREEnough about my thoughts. What are your opinions on the GREE platform? Developers, does this seem worth leaving Open Feint for? Players, how much of your mobile experience – if any – is defined by the network you play on?

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