OpenFeint, a popular gaming network for Android and iOS devices, announced the service will be shutdown on December 14th. OpenFeint was purchased by Gree in 2011 and it was no secret the long term plan was to shutdown the service and move games to Gree’s own platform. However, indications up to this time were that the transition would not occur until later in 2013. With today’s news, developers have little time to roll out updates to customers.
The impact will vary by game for users. A title like GoNinja that is closely integrated with the OpenFeint network will likely not open at all once Gree turns off the servers and apps can no longer make network calls. According to the announcement page, it appears some functions and features, like Game Feed, will not be available to developers who may opt to migrate to the Gree platform. There are indications that user data will be lost during the migration.
Companies shutting down services, especially when they have a different platform they want partners to move to, goes with the technology landscape. Springing a surprise deadline on developers and users does not seem like a wise business decision. Combined with the step backwards with regard to some features, it is hard to imagine this move by Gree will engender trust in developers to give the new platform a try.