If you’ve ever played a game like Angry Birds on the iPhone and the iPad, you’ve probably been frustrated by the fact that you have to start over each time — your saved games don’t transfer. A new startup called FTW (which stands for “For the Win”, a popular phrase among Intenet users for expressing enthusiasm) wants to change that.
Founder Mark Burstiner, who was demonstrating the service on-stage this morning at the Launch conference in San Francisco, said that his company offers an application programming interface (API) that game developers can connect to. Then saved games are synchronized across the different versions of their games on multiple devices. As an example, Burstiner showed off a Tic Tac Toe game on both an iPhone and an iPad on-stage, where after each move he saved the game and the change was reflected on the other device.
Burstiner acknowledged that this is something that a game developer could add on their own, but he said it would take about 140 hours of work, and besides, the developer should be “building more games rather than more features for the one game.”
The expert judges at the conference had some reservations about the concept, particularly about whether this concept has long-term legs. Burstiner said that “cloud gaming” services like OnLive, where everything happens online and no cross-device syncing is needed, are probably the future. But it will be a long time before that becomes a reality, he said. and even then it still won’t represent the entire industry.
FTW is currently looking for iPhone, iPad, and Nintendo DS game developers to participate in its beta test. The company is still experimenting with business model, but it plans to charge both users and larger developers to use the service (indie developers will have free access).