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Investment will help OpenFeint platform expand its push into the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones.
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Intel has jumped into the hot market of social gaming with an investment in platform maker Aurora Feint. The chipmaker announced Thursday that it has joined the second round of funding for the Burlingame, Calif.-based company. Aurora Feint makes the OpenFeint platform that the company says powers 3,400 games for more than 45 million mobile gamers.
Other investors in Aurora Feint include Japanese social game maker DeNA and Chinese online game maker The9. Aurora Feint said the Intel funds would be used to expand the company’s cross-platform development.
Aurora Feint last month expanded its platform from the Apple iPhone to include smartphones running Google's Android operating system. Among the popular titles available on the platform are Fruit Ninja, MiniSquadron and Flick Kick Field Goals. All are paid games.
Intel's interest in supporting social gaming platforms is to stimulate sales of mobile devices, powered by Intel chips, on which to play.
"Over the past few years, interest in mobile gaming has exploded, creating a huge market opportunity to deliver these games to the 1 billion plus mobile device users worldwide," said Mike Buckley, managing director of Intel Capital, the company’s investment arm.
The thriving mobile gaming market is reflected in the string of recent acquisitions. Electronic Arts said Wednesday that it had acquired Chillingo, best known for its popular "Angry Birds" game for Apple's mobile devices, which include the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Terms were not disclosed.
Other recent deals include Walt Disney Co.’s purchase of Playdom for $763.2 million; DeNA acquiring Ngmoco for $400 million; and San Francisco-based Zynga, creator of popular Facebook games such as "Mafia Wars" and "Farmville," acquiring Unoh, a Japanese creator of social games.