Signs Point To An Intel Investment In OpenFeint

intel paul otellini

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Intel is in investing in an as-of-yet-unnamed mobile gaming company.We think the lucky startup might be OpenFeint.

For one, the public relations rep who offered us a briefing on Intel has represented game development startup Aurora Feint in the past.

Aurora Feint started by developing iPhone games, but it’s better known for OpenFeint, a budding social network for iPhone and Android games. Any mobile game developer can tap into OpenFeint for free, but they do have to submit their games for approval, according to the company’s developer FAQ.

For users, the experience sounds a lot like Microsoft’s Xbox Live service on the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 platform: players can create profiles, earn achievements, connect with friends, and play turn-based (not live action) games from their phones.

The investment would fit into Intel’s recent obsession with mobile devices, which present a threat to its traditional business of providing chips for personal computers and laptops. In August, the company dropped $1.4 billion to buy Infineon Wireless Solutions, which makes the wireless chipsets for the iPhone, and the somewhat puzzling $7.7 billion acquisition of antivirus vendor McAfee was also probably a play to get its chips into more mobile devices.

Any Intel deal for Aurora Feint would be orders of magnitude smaller. The company got a $5 million investment from incubator YouWeb and Chinese online game company The9 in July, and Japanese gaming company DeNA took a 20% ownership stake last October.

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