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Just a step ahead of Apple’s press conference today, Aurora Feint is announcing that its PlayTime platform will allow iPhone and Android gamers to play each other in real time multiplayer games.
An extension to the Open Feint social gaming platform, PlayTime is a new cross-platform, real-time multiplayer software development kit. The PlayTime platform is also integrated with Apple’s new Game Center, which is a hub that will allow players to socialize and share achievements and leaderboard data from games. Its features include the ability to keep a game going even if one player drops out of a multiplayer session. It does so by letting a computer-controlled player take over after a human player drops out for connectivity reasons. This feature is necessary because network connections are pretty inconsistent. The platform also lets users trash talk, or hurl insults, between Android and iPhone gamers.
SGN, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based iPhone game maker, has already released a cross-platform iPhone-Android game. But PlayTime is the first SDK that can be used by lots of game developers to implement multi-platform play. By contrast, Apple’s Game Center enables multiplayer play on a simpler peer-to-peer basis. It will disconnect if one player loses a web connection. The question at hand is whether Apple’s Game Center will make platforms such as Aurora Feint’s obsolete. The PlayTime extension is aimed at making sure that does not happen.
“The most successful games have one thing in common: they bring people together. Whether a simple board game or a stunning 3D console game, games are always better when shared with family or friends,” said Jason Citron, chief executive of Aurora Feint. “Traditionally, multiplayer technology has been accessible only to top tier developers. It’s just too complicated and time consuming. So we invented PlayTime, which literally takes one day to integrate into a casual game.”
Burlingame, Calif.-based Aurora Feint has more than 37 million players using 2,800 games that tap the Open Feint platform, which tries to reproduce the equivalent of the Xbox Live online gaming service on the iPhone. The company is in the process of extending Open Feint to Android phones. The PlayTime extension lets developers transform a single-player game into a multplayer game based on competition between players for high scores. Christof Wegmenn, chief executive of Aurora Feint, said his company is using PlayTime to create the next wave of social experiences on mobile devices. PlayTime will launch later this year as part of the Open Feint 3.0 platform.
Aurora Feint was founded in 2007. Investors include Japan’s DeNA. Rivals include Scoreloop, Ngmoco, and PapayaMobile.
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