Jason Citron is the Founder and CEO of Aurora Feint, the game developing company behind OpenFeint – the social gaming platform for a good chunk of the games available on Apple‘s iOS devices, aka iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. If you’ve downloaded games from the app store, you more than likely have a title or two that uses the OpenFeint network.
Benefits to having a social gaming platform on the “i” devices come in the form of friends lists, achievements and ranks. You can challenge your friends, compete for the best scores and see who can complete games and all of the challenges first.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jason and we discussed what’s new with the company, current projects, Apple’s upcoming Game Center and the future of OpenFeint.
Check out the interview below:
Game Rant: You recently released a private beta for version 2.5 of OpenFeint. What features, changes and updates will the public release have?
Jason: So, 2.5 is focused on turn based multiplayer games, enabling push notifications to notify you when it’s your turn – a good example of that is Words With Friends. We will also be adding upgraded APIs, buddy lists, and leaderboards. Developers will be able to use data for building social elements into the flow of the game.
Game Rant: OpenFeint recently hit 25+ million users, what does that mean for the platform and what’s the next step?
Jason: World Domination! I’ve actually been amazed at the growth in the last six months – we were at 5 million just in December. Ultimately, I’d like to become cross platform and build onto other devices – namely Android.
Game Rant: When Apple’s Game Center was announced back in April during the iOS 4 keynote, what was your initial reaction?
Jason: My initial reaction, flattered. As an entrepreneur, Apple acknowledged my vision – creating one network to play games with friends.
Game Center will make it easy to pick a network, simplifying the choice. Creating a social gaming network takes money – it’s the most expensive part of our business that doesn’t bring money in. Game Center is a social gaming network, no product. Aurora Feint has accelerated 2,000 games using OpenFeint and that number is rapidly growing.
Game Rant: With the details we know now about Game Center, what are you looking forward to the network? What are your expectations?
Jason: Multiplayer with voice chat is a feature that Apple may have solved with FaceTime. We all love to talk trash with our friends when we play games like Call of Duty on the Xbox, and now that technology is possible on the iPhone.
Game Rant: What’s next from Aurora Feint?
Jason: 2.5 is the big thing right now with the upgraded API’s and turn-based multiplayer. We are working on OpenFeint X, which is a virtual goods platform. You may be familiar with what Facebook does in that market – Game Center won’t solve that and it’s a market with opportunity.
We are growing extremely fast – 25.5 million users, 8,500 developers and 2,000 games live with a lot of them having been in the top 25 apps – even number 1 on occasion.
We have big brands teaming up with us as well, such as Capcom, Big Fish, Digital Chocolate and more. It’s exciting how fast we are accelerating… and we’re hiring!
Game Rant: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us!
Jason: Thank you!