Gree to close OpenFeint; Devs forced to take quick action

OpenFeint, the first real equivalent of Xbox Live on smartphone, is to be closed on December 14th.

The service was the first to allow iOS gamers to hook up with friends, compare scores and earn trophies. It may have since been arguably surpassed by Apple’s own Game Center, but OpenFeint is still a central element of many big App Store releases.

But not for much longer. OpenFeint owner Gree, which acquired the network last year, has announced that it is to close it. In less than a month – December 14th.

The real kicker, though, is for developers who have been warned that any existing apps that integrate OpenFeint may encounter technical problems when the service shuts down.

They have been advised to remove OpenFeint functionality before the deadline and instead replace it with Gree’s own-branded equivalent.

Not only is the short deadline a bit rich, but the number of devs trying to hurriedly submit revisions is sure to slow Apple’s already unpredictable admissions process.

The worst outcome, of course, would be gamers being left with partially functioning (or perhaps even completely broken) apps that they have previously paid for. And considering the deadlines and the sheer number of games involved, this now seems highly likely.

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