GamesBeat

Aurora Feint to share iPhone social networking tools with game developers

Aurora Feint has managed to produce some of the most popular games on the iPhone. Today, it’s going to share some of what it’s learned with other companies at the iGames Summit in San Francisco.

The Burlingame, Calif.-based company — maker of the hit game Aurora Feint: The Beginning and Aurora Feint II: The Arena– will share tools that make it easy to add social networking features to iPhone games. The company estimates that it can shave two months of development time off an iPhone game.

The so-called OpenFeint Mobile Social Gaming Platform technology is available for public beta today. It will feature ways to tie social networks such as Facebook and Twitter into iPhone games. Later on, it will include MySpace connectivity.

More than 30 games will have the technology built into them. Partners include Chillingo, which has published more than 100 of the 6,000-plus games available in Apple’s AppStore, and Bolt Creative, publisher of the hit game Pocket God.

Using OpenFeint, iPhone game developers can let users log into OpenFeint via their Facebook and Twitter accounts to import their social identity into a mobile game. Other players can thus see their play history, achievements in games, and chat with them.

Developers can integrate directly with fbConnect and Twitter APIs, but to get the leaderboards, chat lobbies and other social game features, they would have to develop and set up their own server data centers, something that could easily take months of work. Use of the tools is free for free games, while paid games are charged based on numbers of active monthly users. Aurora Feint will continue to make its own games for the iPhone, but now it has an additional source of income, said company chairman, Peter Relan.

The company got started in July of last year and has five employees. It has raised $250,000. Game studio Demiforce had planned to release something similar to OpenFeint, a service called Onyx, but it ran into unspecified approval troubles with Apple and announced a couple of weeks ago that it was giving up on the effort. Demiforce founder Steve Demeter has referred those interested in Onyx to Aurora Feint.

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