May 13 AT 2:18 PM Alberto Vildosola 4 Comments

OpenFeint brings its free-to-play platform to Android, developers and gamers rejoice

The Android Market is growing at an astonishing pace. With 4.5 billion apps already installed and bound to becoming the biggest app store in the world in the coming months, the Market is turning into priority number one for mobile developers. As a result of this, we’re already seeing many iOS apps make the jump over to Android.

One type of app that’s starting to make the jump from iOS to Android is social games. These games usually have a free-to-play model, where the developer makes money from in-app payments or a virtual store. Social games have become quite popular on iOS thanks partially to how easy it is for developers to integrate a virtual store into their apps. Which is not as easy to do on Android right now, but that’s about to change.

To help Android developers build virtual stores inside their apps, OpenFeint announced today that it is bringing its popular OFX service to Android. OFX will initially launch in private beta, with registration open for a limited number of developers. If you’re interested, head to the OpenFeint developers page and sign up as soon as possible.

Gaming is still one of those areas where Android lags behind iOS, and there’s a good reason for that. Even though Android is outpacing iOS in market share, developers are still making more money on iOS than on Android. For developers to build awesome and high-quality games for Android like the ones we see on iOS, they need to be confident that the game will make them money.

With great tools that help developers monetize their apps — like OpenFeint’s OFX — now coming to Android, we’re about to see the Android Market explode with fun and first-class games.

Show Press Release

OpenFeint Expands Free-to-Play Platform to Google’s Android
Game developers can now monetize their users by selling virtual currency and virtual goods

May 13, 2011 — Burlingame, Calif. — While Facebook-style developers rapidly move their games to mobile, traditional mobile game developers are adopting the same free-to-play model — giving games away and making money from in-game purchases. Google’s IAP system lets developers process in-game transactions, but most lack the virtual economy management system necessary to build profitable games.

With the private beta launch of OFX for Android, game developers can now easily build and manage profitable virtual economies without having to build and operate the servers themselves. OFX helps developers run complete virtual stores – stocking and selling virtual currency and goods, analyzing real time performance, and modifying inventory on the fly.

“IAP systems are like credit card machines — necessary to process transactions but somewhat useless without a store around it. OFX makes it easy for any game developer to build that store and have confidence in its ability to scale as they snag millions of DAUs,” said Jason Citron, founder and CEO of OpenFeint.

For games selected to participate in the private beta, OFX will use Google’s IAP to process payments. Future updates will include support for alternative payment providers, like direct-to-carrier billers.

“We’d rather focus on building great games than an incredibly complex scalable server infrastructure. Using OFX for iOS has been incredibly easy, so we’re excited to implement it in our upcoming Android games,” says Shainiel Deo, CEO of Halfbrick Studios.

OpenFeint is strongly invested in developing gaming on Android. Just last week it announced the launch of a new distribution channel for Android games in China, called “The9 Game Zone.” Earlier this year, it announced a strategic partnership with The9 to bring quality games to Android through the $100 million Fund9.

The OFX private beta is open for a limited time and will close as soon as all slots are filled. Developers interested in learning more about OpenFeint and participating in the OFX Private Beta should visit OpenFeint.com/developers/ofx.

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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