Research in Motion (RIM), the creator of the Blackberry, has acquired German social game developer Scoreloop for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is part of RIM’s strategy to further develop social gaming applications for its devices. RIM executives are hoping they can provide a more valuable gaming experience to their users through the use of such an ecosystem. More after the jump.
Game-related services have popped up all over the map during the past few years. Scoreloop, a direct competitor of ngmoco’s Plus+ and OpenFeint’s, has been busy working with carriers as a white label service provider. This enticed RIM to pursue Scoreloop as Blackberry products have a tremendous lacking of social features.
RIM says that Scoreloop will be “bringing expertise in creating social and collaborative gaming toolkits for mobile developers to the BlackBerry platform.” The software should allow these developers to build different social media features for their applications. Scoreloop software enables developers to add Facebook and Twitter connections as well as in-app purchases and virtual currency.
RIM’s VP of global alliances and developer relations wrote “We’re excited that the Scoreloop team is joining the BlackBerry Developer team and bringing their expertise in creating social and collaborative gaming toolkits for mobile developers to the BlackBerry platform.”
It’s a smart move for Blackberry who, like Apple, has strong control over its iOS. To attract developers the way iOS and Android has, Blackberry needs to cultivate an ecosystem that offers a both compelling user experience for its customers and real opportunities for developers to earn. However, developers say that they find Apple’s policies exclusionary and tight-fisted. Android is rapidly closing the app-gap with its more open marketplace (although its not REALLY open), as well as the fact that third parties can distribute their own apps, and the availability of other app marketplaces entirely, like Amazon’s Android App Store (and Mac Store!).
24% of respondents from VisionMobile’s Developer Economics’ survey showed intent to develop for Blackberry’s platform. Blackberry is also enticing for its revenue potential and has a big user base. BlackBerry developers are naturally concentrated in North America, with 16% more respondents from that region; but in addition, they are almost completely lacking in Europe. This reveals a major gap in RIM’s developer marketing efforts.
Ngmoco’s network now belongs to DeNA whereas OpenFeint is part of mixi. The big players will now vie for a global user base with all the gaming ecosystem pieces in place. Who will persevere? Stay tuned.