Gameloft releases new social platform app for Android

by Phil Hornshaw

Mobile game maker Gameloft is responsible for some of the biggest-budget, biggest-name games on Google’s Android operating system (as well as Apple’s iOS), which is probably why it has 7 million registered players in its proprietary gaming network. Today the company released a new app that lets dedicated Gameloft fans access that network even when they’re not playing Asphalt 6 or Modern Combat.

It’s called Gameloft LIVE!, and it operates a lot like other similar gaming networks, such as Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE for its Xbox 360 game system, or OpenFeint’s player network. Users can log-in to the Gameloft LIVE! app and access friends lists, leaderboards and other game information. It also packs the capability to launch Gameloft games found on your device from the central Gameloft LIVE! hub. So if you see a friend playing UNO, for example, you could launch the game to go meet them for a challenge.

The comparison to Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE is a pretty apt one, actually. Gameloft LIVE! has a 3-D graphical style and allows users to create 3-D avatars to represent them in the game community. Xbox LIVE offers the same thing, with users even able to purchase and download outfits and items to go with their avatars, or use their avatars in certain casual games. Some games that use Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller use Xbox LIVE avatars as in-game characters, and Gameloft LIVE! could presumably do the same thing under the right circumstances.

For a company that is often accused of (and has frequently admitted) taking concepts from popular games and reworking them slightly for a mobile platform, Gameloft LIVE! hews exceptionally close to the Xbox LIVE formula. Gameloft isn’t a company that has ever had a problem with taking concepts from other popular franchises, such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Halo, The Legend of Zelda or Assassin’s Creed, to make its own games, but those titles at least usually have a unique Gameloft flavor. Gameloft LIVE!, on the other hand, seems to be basically Microsoft’s system, but for mobile games.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, given the success of services such as OpenFeint, especially if Gameloft fans can find some use in it. With the release of a dedicated app, it seems likely that Gameloft will add more functionality to the network, perhaps similar to what Microsoft has done. It might be cool to have customized avatars you can take into a Modern Combat 2 game to square off against those of your friends.

The Gameloft LIVE! app is currently available for free on Android devices, and will be making its way to Apple’s iOS platform sometime in the future.