OpenKit, the open-source platform for adding social features to mobile games, has gone live, with 10 developers using it in their mobile games on iOS and Android.
Started last fall by social game incubator YouWeb chief Peter Relan, OpenKit is the spiritual successor to OpenFeint, a similar social platform mobile games. But Japan’s Gree acquired it for $104 million and shut it down, leaving thousands of developers stranded.
In response, the team started OpenKit to create an alternative, and today version 1.0 of the backend service is now available. The founders include Lou Zell, Todd Hamilton, and Suneet Shaw.
Developers who used OpenFeint couldn’t get their data back, particularly if they switched to any other platform. But OpenKit will be an open-source effort for its basic app services for social games. And it won’t lock-in developers, who are free to take their game data and move to another platform if they wish.
A small team began developing the OpenKit platform at the end of 2012, and lots of developers voiced their support. The first features include a leaderboard, universal authentication, social challenges, social achievements, and asynchronous social multiplayer.
In a statement, the OpenKit founders said, “We’re breaking down the silos of vertical services that come with mobile platforms. OpenKit is the only platform that supports Game Center identities, Google+ IDs, and Facebook IDs, so players can play games with ‘real friends’ and challenge each other regardless of the type of device and game.”
Among the developers using OpenKit in games are Bongfish, Oyatsukai Games, Battery Acid Games, Dumadu Games, Two Tails, Maysalward, PaxPlay, Twimler, and Kymo Games.
They added, “Even Amazon recognized the importance our vision last week, when they announced that their Android-only GameCircle service was being extended to iOS. However, GameCiricle is neither open-source nor is it taking the approach towards universal authentication like OpenKit. And developers can seamlessly slide in OpenKit, which wraps both Game Center APIs and Google Play Services.”
One of the games using OpenKit is Pivvot, which was recently selected by Apple as Game of the Week. It received over two million downloads, and players submitted one million scores to OpenKit.
“OpenKit is a great and easy-to-implement tool that enables cross-platform ‘real friends’ social leaderboards. Plus, it’s open-source, and the guys behind it are nice, responsive, and work closely with you every step of the way,” said Whitaker Trebella, developer of Pivvot.
OpenKit is a freemium platform. If the developer’s game becomes a hit and the monthly active user count hits a high number, the developer pays OpenKit a monthly fee.
“OpenKit 1.0 is all about engagement and re-engagement in games, especially important now, since both Apple’s and Google’s store ranking algorithms take engagement into account,” said Relan, the chairman of Agawi and cofounder of OpenFeint.