Mobile social gaming network Aurora Feint has two significant pieces of news this morning. The first is that it’s planning a game store that it hopes will become Android’s answer to Apple’s App Store. Second, it has received a strategic investment from The9, a large Chinese game developer.
The move onto Android reflects that platform’s failure to match the App Store’s efficiency in distributing apps.
Where the App Store manages to pack a lot of categories into an interface that’s still easily navigable by users, Android’s discovery mechanisms are unpolished, and the platform has far fewer categories to search through.
Aurora Feint can draw on past experience for the project. Although the company is best known for its OpenFeint social features for iPhone games, that product includes game discovery; and the company owns an iPhone app called Game Spotlight, which offers users another avenue to find games.
At its launch later this summer, Aurora Feint’s new store will already feature some publishers: Astraware, Digital Chocolate, Glu Mobile and Hudson Soft, as well as a number of smaller studios. Interested developers can sign up for more information here.
As for The9’s investment, there’s not much more information about it except that it’s a “strategic minority equity investment”. However, it’s not the first Asian partnership that Aurora Feint has sealed. Last year, it sold a 20 percent stake to Japanese game developer DeNA, which is a subsidiary of a large Japanese mobile company.
DeNA recently reached out to Western developers, signaling that the Japanese game market may finally have a place for outside companies. China, also, is much-desired target for Western game makers of all types, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Aurora announcing some significant moves in the region going forward.