You know you’re onto something when you’re beating Apple on its own platform. A resignation from a certain someone may have taken centre stage last week, but perhaps more interesting for developers was the news that Apple was phasing out its identification system, the UDID (Unique Device Identifier).
For those not in the know, the UDID number is a unique number assigned to your iOS device so developers can quickly track usage history. It sounds malicious, but it’s more for marketing – offering cross app promotions and deals that are relevant to you. Think of it as browser-cookies for iPhones.
VentureBeat grabbed the exclusive news late last week when it revealed that Apple was phasing out the UDID and would no longer support the system in the future, quoting privacy concerns as the reason behind the decision.
Never fear though, because in its place is OpenFeint, the social sign-in system owned by Japanese company, Gree. Boasting 115 million users (myself included), it’s a cross-application identity combining news, stats, achievements and support features. Think of it as Xbox Live for iOS; i.e. what Game Center should have been.
Gree is already offering the OFUID (OpenFeint User Identification) for implementation and if chosen, developers can join a 6,800 game strong community using the system. While OpenFeint doesn’t make any money for the company behind it, the added value it brings to games proves to be a wise investment. Also, it allows developers to gather usage information that would otherwise be impossible.
As a user of OpenFeint myself, it’s a solid system that works surprisingly well. One-click logins are always welcome and being a stats obsessive person means that I enjoy being able to track my gaming habits across a variety of games. The decision can only be considered a good thing for both gamers and developers.