If you like to play games on an iPhone or other mobile device, you're more than aware at how difficult it is to search for and find great games or -- if you're making them -- getting them in front of people's eyeballs. Apple's new and bestsellers lists are the go-to resource for iPhone users and the Android store also has a list of newbies and top sellers, but outside of that, finding and/or promoting a game is generally an exercise in frustration.
That's where Open Feint's Game Channel app comes in. (Open Feint is sort of an Xbox Live for mobile games -- you create a profile, compare your score with friends and earn achievements for your games. It's similar to Apple's Game Center, but Open Feint works with Android and iOS games.). The Game Channel app includes two "social promotions," which will help surface different games to users. The first is the Free Game of the Day, which has been part of the app for some time, and the second is a brand new feature called 'Fire Sale' - a Groupon clone for mobile games.
The Fire Sale feature games that cost anywhere between $1.99 to $9.99 (aka 'premium games') and Open Feint users will vote whether or not they want the game. Once the game gets enough votes, it will be available at a discount. The Fire Sale game will be prominently featured on the App and Open Feint members will also receive push notifications that let them know when the sale begins.
Developers who want to use the service will not have to pay up front, but will be required to do a revenue share with Open Feint.
The first game that will be offered as a Fire Sale is Bytemark's Jaws, the official mobile game based on the classic 1975 film. The pre-discount price of the game is $2.99 game, and in it, you keep swimmers from turning into shark food and, in the end, go head-to-head with the iconic great white. If this game floats your boat, you will be able to go to the Game Center App starting Friday, December 17 at 12:01 p.m. PST to vote for a discount.
It's an interesting idea, to be sure, but it's hard not to wonder just how much the price on these mobile games will drop -- and if it'll be low enough to entice people who might be on the fence to buy it anyway. If I don't want to buy Jaws at its current price, will a $2 drop to 99 cents really change my mind? Maybe it will be more attractive for mobile games in the $5 and up bracket, the ones that are too expensive to qualify as an impulse purchase.
One also has to wonder: With all of the Groupon clones floating around already, is Open Feint a little late to the game?