Openfeint co-founder announces OpenKit, new open platform for mobile developers

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By Mike Thompson Comment

Former Crowdstar CEO and OpenFeint Co-Founder Peter Relan today announced OpenKit, a new open API service designed for mobile developers that guarantees no lock-in of developer data. The platform will also include cloud-based features like leaderboards and achievements.

As opposed to OpenFeint, OpenKit isn’t designed to be a user network. Instead, developers can implement user data with the platform’s source code in order to host their own service. OpenKit will also allow include authorization services for user networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Apple’s GameCenter. Should a developer decide to host the service as a convenience, there is also a freemium pricing model with basic services offered for free; Relan says this is modeled more like GitHub instead of OpenFeint.

In a statement, Relan said he created OpenKit to appeal to independent developers because of the “extreme uncertainty” they face in regards to what happens to their data and users when platforms are acquired (as is what happened with OpenFeint) and terms of service see dramatic changes (á la Twitter). As a result, Relan maintains there needs to be an open source cloud service for developers that lets them take both code and user data with them should they ever move off the cloud service.

Relan’s reveal of OpenKit is perfectly timed because many developers are now looking for a new alternative API, now that GREE is shutting down its OpenFeint network. However, he is adamant that OpenKit isn’t a statement about GREE’s decision to force developers away from OpenFeint and onto the GREE platform. Instead, he says OpenKit is meant to help developers “control their destiny.”

The launch day version will include the aforementioned features, as well as a cloud service account for developers, data export utility for developers to download and instructions about how one can host their own back-end services on any cloud provider.

OpenKit will be available soon — provided enough groups sign up for the program within the first week or so — as early as sometime in January. Developers interested in signing up can do so at the official site, starting today.

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