Is the future of mobile social games cross platform play?

iPhone and Android
Recent headlines certainly suggest that mobile games will be developed for multiple mobile devices at once. OpenFeint creator Aurora Feint announced today that its mobile social network for games will soon support play across several mobile operating systems, VentureBeat reports. The service, known as OpenFeint Connect, will allow iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, and Palm Pre devices to play games with one another. Coincidentally (yeah, right) Game Closure, a Palo Alto, Calif.--based start up, has launched a service of the same name, according to TechCrunch. It allows developers to create HTML5-based games and release them on several mobile devices at once through their respective mobile browsers. Is this where social games are headed on mobile devices?

It sure looks like it, doesn't it? Developers like Zynga have already released games such as Mafia Wars for mobile through HTML5 on several devices. With Game Closure, developers would be forced to create HTML5-based games for its cross platform service to work. However, OpenFeint appears to have a better idea.

FarmVille iPhone
HTML5 hasn't exactly caught up with what native mobile games (think FarmVille for iPhone) can do. So, OpenFeint Connect allows these native games to communicate regardless, according to OpenFeint CEO Jason Citron. For instance, imagine if FarmVille was created for Android, a version that looked and played exactly like its iOS friend yet was only available for Android. With the new OpenFeint, players of both the iOS and Android versions of FarmVille could communicate and play together.

It's only natural for mobile social games to head in this direction. Facebook is a multiplatform service available on every browser out there and Flash--the primary tool for creating social games on computers--is compatible with them all as well. To release a mobile version of a Facebook game on one device (ahem, FarmVille) is just limiting yourself. However, it is going to be a long time before HTML5 catches up with native gaming apps on mobile devices.

The best mainstream HTML5 mobile game out there is Mafia Wars Atlantic City, which is clearly miles behind FarmVille for iPhone. Hopefully it will mature to a level that natives apps are capable of. That way, us gamers could see high-quality mobile social games released on several devices as quickly as they crop up on Facebook. Until then, OpenFeint Connect can have the job.

[Image Credits: VentureBeat and MacNN]

What do you think of the signs pointing to cross platform mobile social games? Is this the direction you want mobile social games to go? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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