Intel Capital Invests In Social Gaming Network

Intel continues to expand into new areas of technology beyond the PC space, and is now investing $3 million in OpenFeint, a social gaming network developed by Burlingame, Calif.-based Aurora Feint.

Intel Capital and The9, a massively multiplayer online game operator based in China, contributed a total $8 million in a deal announced on Thursday toward the mobile OpenFeint platform, which allows users to find friends, play games and post their achievements.

The main advantage of Open Feint is its cross-platform approach to social gaming. It features online leaderboards, invites, and chat as part of a social network that supports over 3,400 games and has registered 45 million users since its launch in February 2009. Last month, the startup unveiled a new plug and play social game development.

The cross-platform nature of Open Feint, which supports both iOS and Android, fits into Intel's strategy of offering hardware and services to a variety of competitors. In this case, Aurora Feint faces competition from Apple's new Game Center service. However, with the new infusion of capital, and the release of PlayTime technology, which allows developers to make real-time multiplayer games across platforms, the OpenFeint community continues to enjoy rapid growth.

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OpenFeint will use the new investment to expand its social gaming SDK to new platforms and devices, according to a statement.

Next: Comments From Intel Capital

’Over the past few years, interest in mobile gaming has exploded, creating a huge market opportunity to deliver these games to the one billion plus mobile device users worldwide,’ said Mike Buckley, managing director of Intel Capital, in a statement.

In an interview with The New York Times Lisa Lambert, vice president of Intel Capital, said the company was looking to ’build software ecosystems around our platforms. That is a huge part of our strategy over all.’

’We’re not just about PCs anymore,’ she added. ’We’re thinking about everything from the back-end that is supporting the system all the way to embedded devices.

Intel's acquisition of security vendor McAfee in August mystified some and prepared its entry into the mobile space with the purchase of Infineon's Wireless Unit.