Earlier this year, AuroraFeint launched the private beta of OpenFeint X (OFX), which offers indie developers the ability to create Zynga-like free-to-play games including microtransactions and virtual goods. Today, the gaming platform is opening up OFX to all developers and as an incentive to use the new features, is announcing a $1 million free-to-play mobile games challenge.
With OFX, developers can create Farmville-like games with a chat wall where players can interact with each other, a newsfeed showing recent in-game activity, and game nudges. OFX’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. OpenFeint says that future updates will allow game developers to offer virtual currency and virtual goods for sale in their games.
OFX is completely free for game developers to download and implement in their games and only shares in revenue earned from the sale of paid downloadable content in games sold with OFX.
The OFX Freemium Challenge waives the revenue share on the OPX SDK for up to $10,000 per developer, available to the first 100 developers who use it. So developers can implement the publicly launched OFX and sell up to $10,000 in downloadable content in game before sharing any revenue.
OpenFeint is betting on in-game purchases being a big attractor for developers to build on its platform. According to a Juniper Research report, revenues from in-game purchases are expected to surpass $11 billion by 2015, nearly double what they were in 2009. Clearly this is a potentially lucrative business for OpenFeint.
The startup just raised $3 million from Intel Capital, and has added 3,400 games and over 45 million mobile gamers to its platform in just over a year.