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Heyzap has launched leaderboards, a much-needed feature to the company’s mobile platform, which started as a check-in service for games and is now evolving into something like a social network. This will pick up where OpenFeint, which is being shut down by its owner Gree, left off.
The platform allows developers to deal with the problem of discovery and high marketing costs. Those issues plague mobile gaming, where it’s easy to publish titles but hard to get noticed. With social leaderboards integrated into the Heyzap software development kit (SDK), developers can get more players without spending a ton of money on ads.
It works because people use Heyzap to show their friends what they’re playing on mobile devices. And those friends might tap on those games to see what they’re like and then download them. With the leaderboards, Heyzap will enable friends to challenge others to beat their scores or just compare them. The leaderboards work cross-platform on both iOS and Android, and they differ from other leaderboards in that they are purely friend-focused.
“Yes, we are becoming and have been working towards becoming the network of gamers,” said Jude Gomila, co-founder of Heyzap, in an email to GamesBeat.
Developers who integrate the Heyzap SDK into their games will allow players to compete against friends and all players. The challenges are real-time notifications to other players. More than 50 games already have the leaderboards integrated, including Trivia Burst and Speedy Biker Xtreme.
Gree bought OpenFeint, a rival mobile social gaming network, for $104 million last year. But the company announced it will shut down the OpenFeint leaderboards service in December. Gomila said that his company had been working on the leaderboards for a while, but the timing will now be good as Heyzap will become an alternative for developers looking for leaderboards in their games.
Heyzap is now connected to more than 3,000 games on Android and iOS, and has powered millions of downloads since its launch. Its developers include Zynga, DeNA, Bigfish, PocketGems, Tinyco and Com2US. Heyzap was founded in 2008 as a Flash games service, but it adapted to mobile in the past year or so. Investors include Union Square Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Chris Dixon and Ashton Kutcher.