New OpenFeint service helps developers go freemium

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More and more iOS games are embracing the freemium distribution model—enticing customers with a free app that provides a taste of the game, then charging for further content. OpenFeint is ready to help developers get in on the in-app transaction action. The social platform for iOS games has announced OFX, a new service that allows developers to sell additional content within a game without having to submit an update to Apple. This will allow game developers to release expansion packs and new gaming features quicker and with less hassle.

With OFX, OpenFeint will store a developer's downloadable content (DLC) in its cloud servers and upload it directly to players who purchase it from within the app. By hosting its own servers, running the content management system, and maintaining the system framework, OFX should reduce development risk and resources for developers looking to add DLC to their apps. OFX also boasts a generous pricing scheme; developers can distribute free in-game content through OFX at no charge, with OpenFeint taking 15 percent of net revenue of paid content. However, that 15 percent is in addition to Apple’s existing 30 percent cut of in-app purchases.

According to OpenFeint, developers need only get their paid in-app purchase item approved by Apple in order to sell it through OFX. Developers will also get access to OpenFeint's Developer Dashboard, wherein they can easily upload a new level pack, wait for approval if it's paid (free updates don't require approval), and start selling the content in-game.

OpenFeint is also working on support for virtual goods and currency, which will allow developers to create micro-transaction economies like those found in FarmVille.

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