OpenFeint is one of the more exciting mobile gaming platforms out there at the moment. It’s not just a great place to go and discover new games – it also provides a robust social networking engine for mobile gamers. And it works cross-platform; Android and iPhone gamers can chat and actually play games against one another. In fact, when you want to know what trends are hot in mobile gaming, OpenFeint is a good place to look. And today they’ve announced a new “Groupon” style deal for game developers.
What’s the story?
If you don’t happen to know what Groupon is, here’s the short version:
It’s an incredibly popular service for sending daily deal coupons to people. It’s so popular that Google reportedly offered to buy the company for $6 billion… and Groupon turned them down. It works by setting up a new deal every day with a local retailer – there are different Groupons available depending on what city you’re in. If enough Groupon users register an interest in the daily deal, it becomes “locked in” and the coupons get distributed digitally via web and mobile. If there isn’t enough interest, it doesn’t happen. This gives great security to the retailers who sign up with Groupon, because it means that their special offers won’t be used unless there’s a very healthy amount of customers planning to come in the door. This is called the “group buying” model, and it is generating a truly huge amount of buzz. It provides discounts to consumers, and sales volume to vendors. It’s win-win.
And OpenFeint has now launched something similar for games on its platform.
What’s the OpenFeint service?
OpenFeint has applied the group buying model to mobile games. It has created a new section of it’s platform called Group Channel. This is just generally a place for developers to promote and sell their games to users – it’s envisioned as a place where gamers can see a regularly updated selection of games on special offer and weekly deals. But one of the functions of Group Channel is called Fire Sale, and this is the group buying service. Each week, one game will be featured on Fire Sale which is usually for offer as a premium item priced between $1.99 to $9.99 – and the more people who say they want it, the lower the price will get. Again, it offers consumers value in return for offering the developer volume.
What we think?
I really think that group buying is just starting to pick up steam. I think it’s going to be one of the first major revolutions in mobile retail. It combines so many of the things that make mobile TICK: location, mass communication, social networking and push information. And it doesn’t require smartphones or fancy operating systems. Basic feature phones have all the functions you need to be part of the group buying movement.