Onyx Online

Onyx Online, for the iPhone, is kind of like Xbox Live. Sort of. The ambitious service is the brainchild of Trism developer Steve Demeter, who hopes to add a slew of “social media” features to iPhone games, like leaderboards, achievements, forums, and the like. Onyx enabled games will allow players to view each other’s profiles, scores, challenge friends, and see what games people are playing. Like I said, add a headset and some 15-year-old boys screaming “your gay” and you have Xbox Live (and no, there’s no typo there – even when they scream it, they use the wrong spelling, just like in the forums).

The thing is, Onyx was created more out of a sense of self-preservation amongst developers than it was keeping it real for people who game on the iPhone. As the App Store becomes cluttered with hundreds upon hundreds of throwaway games, Demeter told Wired the indie developer is in danger of being muscled out by big boys like Sega, who have the marketing budget to get their titles (for better or for worse) to the top of the heap.

So by making games talk to one another, or by encouraging some competition among the players, a pack mentality begins to take shape with the smaller games. A rising tide raises all the boats, or the saying goes.

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