OpenFeint Announces Replacement for UDIDs on iOS

On the heels of Apple’s decision to phase out developer access to the UDID (unique device identifier) on iOS devices, mobile social gaming network OpenFeint is offering up a an alternative solution. The company announced today that it’s launching a single sign-on system for social game developers that will replace UDIDs on iOS.

The system will become available later this fall.

The change to UDID access was noted in the latest set of iOS5 release notes, where it was listed as “deprecated.” The UDID, an alphanumeric string unique to each Apple device, is currently used by mobile ad networks, game networks, analytics providers, developers and app testing systems, like TestFlight, for example. In some cases, developers are even using the UDID to verify whether users are accessing their app from a new device.

In other words, this sort of change is a very, very big deal.

However, with OpenFeint’s new system, the gaming developer community, at least, will have another option. Users will opt-in to OpenFeint’s new single-sign on system, which then gives the developer access to OpenFeint’s OFUID, a universal account system for the gaming network’s cross-platform users.

Using the OFUID, developers can examine and analyze users’ behavior across games in order to better understand what’s working within their apps and what needs to be fixed. It will also help game developers’ with their ad targeting efforts. All data accessed will be anonymized to protect user privacy, says OpenFeint.

Unfortunately, unlike Apple’s UDID, OFUID only works when the user chooses to sign in to OpenFeint. And clearly, it’s not a universal replacement for the UDID, since OpenFeint is focused only on mobile gaming.

In addition, OpenFeint announced an accompanying “install trade program” for developers to promote the new system. OpenFeint says it will guarantee developers 1.5 new app installs for every new install of its “Game Channel,” a new app that’s needed for the single sign-on system to work.

Developers interested in early access can sign up to participate in the new program here.

OpenFeint has now over 6,900 games on its network and over 115 million registered users. It was acquired by Japanese mobile gaming company GREE in April for $104 million.