ngmoco recently introduced a social gaming platform that was billed as the iPhone’s Xbox Live equivalent. Plus+ is meant to track players’ in-game achievements, rankings, and allow them to challenge one another to compete in asynchronous multiplayer battles. It’s a well-designed system, and it works well, but since only ngmoco titles are supported, it feels a little limited.
All of that changes today, as another independent game maker has announced a partnership with ngmoco to include Plus+ features in its titles, as well. Freeverse, maker of Flick Fishing, Moto Chaser, and Grunts, among many others, is the company in question, and Plus+ support has been officially unveiled as coming to Flick Fishing, and to the upcoming space conquest and trading game Warp Gate. While no other games are officially on the Plus+ list as of yet, it’s likely more will quickly follow pending the success of the initial launch.
Thanks to Plus+ integration, Freeverse gamers will now be able to take advantage of all of the same features ngmoco fans have enjoyed, including building cross-game friends lists, unlocking in-game awards, seeing what their friends are playing, and challenging friends to try to beat their own top scores.
At the time of the original launch of Plus+, I expressed hope that other iPhone gaming companies would follow suit with social services of their own. ngmoco apparently had the much better idea to try to license its service with other development companies, which makes for a much more cohesive experience for gamers. It’s done a good job of not tying the Plus+ brand inextricably to the ngmoco label, so that it should port well to other third-party developers without too much concern about promoting a rival included as part of the deal.
It’s currently unclear whether or not you’ll be able to see if your friends have both Freeverse and ngmoco games from the Plus+ dashboard in either game, but it would only make sense to do so, since exposure should, in theory, be beneficial for all parties. While Plus+ doesn’t have an open SDK, like OpenFeint and ScoreLoop, it looks like ngmoco is definitely open to advances, and in my opinion, it’s easily the best designed of the three services.
It’ll probably depend heavily on how this partnership with Freeverse fares, but hopefully other companies will be quick to jump on the bandwagon and throw their support behind Plus+. Good candidates for future consideration are Digital Chocolate, makers of Tower Bloxx, Chocolate Shop, and countless other titles, and the big fish, Gameloft, which could potentially win the service enough cred to draw attention from someone like EA, which would make it the defacto iPhone social gaming network, beating out all other contenders.