Before Apple had Game centre it had OpenFeint, a gaming network that brought a cohesive online experience to countless iPhone, iPad and eventually Android games. Some of us may have opted to miss out on its fun features, but for many game developers it was a priceless tool. Come December 14, OpenFeint will be no more.
In early 2011, Asian social gaming giant GREE purchased OpenFeint for $US104 million, acquiring its massive userbase but not doing much of anything with the platform itself. GREE has its own platform, and I assumed that eventually OpenFeint would be integrated into it. Just not quite so abruptly.
The closure, documented at GREE's OpenFeint developer page, gives developers of apps utilising the service less than a month to either remove OpenFeint from their apps or migrate to the GREE platform. Once the service shuts down, according to the announcement, "OpenFeint network calls will be nonfunctional which may result in service disruptions to your game and a poor player experience".
Migration to the GREE platform is an option, but it's noted that a low-level integration can be completed in about a week — games that relied more heavily on OpenFeint could take much longer to move over.
So yeah, happy Christmas, OpenFeint developers.