AT&T is trying to make its network much more appealing to the gaming populace. The carrier announced it will create its own gaming platform for Android devices using OpenFeint. One of the biggest features of the new network will allow gamers to play with each other across different operating systems. The OpenFeint Game Channel is expected to launch during the first quarter of 2011 in the Android Market.
AT&T is preparing to lose a bit of ground due to the iPhone becoming available on Verizon. The iPhone is by far the best smartphone a gamer could have due to its incredible amount of third party support. The iPhone also doesn’t suffer from hardware fragmentation like Android devices do. Developers for the iPhone don’t have to worry about releasing an app that works for some phones, but not others.
OpenFeint also allows AT&T to capitalize on the popularity of social gaming. Given that the OpenFeint community is about 65 million users strong, staying connected shouldn’t be difficult at all. OpenFeint is sort of like a social network in its own right. Users have their own profiles, access to leaderboards, achievements and can make friend requests to other users. OpenFeint also connects to Facebook so players can find out which of their friends also use OpenFeint.
The assumption is that AT&T’s partnership with OpenFeint will be in competition with Apple’s Game Center. Game Center was released a long time ago and hasn’t seen any improvements since. Gaining the upper hand on Game Center shouldn’t be too challenging.