Aurora Feint started out as a puzzle game developer for the iPhone platform but has since evolved into the maker of a comprehensive social gaming platform dubbed OpenFeint that continues to attract independent iPhone game developers to join its rapidly growing community. Today, the startup is launching the private beta of OpenFeint X, which offers indie developers the ability to create Zynga-like free-to-play games including microtransactions and virtual goods.
With the success of Zynga and PlayFish on Facebook, Aurora Feint wants to help create more of these types of free-to-play games on the iPhone. Launched with Japanese investment partner and mobile gaming company DeNa Group, OpenFeint X will be rolled out to the general public in phases over the next few months. With the international investment in the project, we can assume that OpenFeint X is designed to develop games that appeal to global markets as well.
Using the new platform, developers can create games with a chat wall where players can interact with each other, a newsfeed showing recent in-game activity, and game nudges. And OpenFeint X’s premium services allows developers to use a cloud-based infrastructure to build and run a full virtual goods store, access detailed analytics, and include game-specific currency wallet.
The existing OpenFeint platform is quite popular amongst developers and already powers social gaming services for 12 million users and is growing at a monthly pace of 25 percent. The strategy of trying to develop Facebook-like free-to-play games through Open Feint isn’t surprising. Peter Relan, executive chairman of Aurora Feint, also happens to be the executive chairman of CrowdStar, a social game developer on Facebook, which makes develops Happy Aquarium, Happy Island and Happy Pets.