Mobile gaming network OpenFeint is launching a new tool for developers to implement freemium models, and is enticing developers to hop on board with a $1 million challenge. OpenFeint is releasing its OFX software development kit, which allows developers to include iOS in-app purchases without submitting game updates to Apple. OFX will soon include the ability to sell virtual currency and goods in-game. This is an important step in helping developers monetize their apps and leverage the power of the freemium model, which I noted now accounts for one-third of the top grossing apps in the iPhone App Store.
OpenFeint’s new tools are designed to let game developers tap the freemium model without having to build supporting services themselves. Freemium apps have grown in popularity over the last year and show no signs of slowing down. Juniper Research said Tuesday it expects in-app purchase revenue to eclipse traditional download sales by 2013, with total game revenues topping $11 billion by 2015, nearly doubling the $6 million in mobile game revenues last year.
In an effort to encourage developers to use OFX, OpenFeint is offering 100 developers the chance to waive revenue sharing on the first $10,000 they make though OFX as part of its $1 million OFX Freemium Challenge. After that, OpenFeint will take 15 percent of revenues from in-app purchases transacted through OFX.
OpenFeint said select developers have already started using OFX and have seen major results. Get Set Games experienced a 400 percent increase in overall revenue since recently enabling a freemium model for its game Mega Jump. Peter Relan, chairman of Aurora Feint (the company behind OpenFeint) said he expects more than half the top grossing iPhone games will be freemium by next year, and he expects mobile freemium revenues to eventually eclipse game revenues on Facebook.
OpenFeint, which is used in 3,500 iOS games and 150 Android titles, said it will bring OFX to Android early next year.
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