Other than major console mascots like Master Chief and Mario, there are few animated characters that hold quite as much weight and blindly ravenous fan support as Sonic the Hedgehog. Though we are long past the days of Sega Genesis and Dreamcast, the blue tinted blur still maintains the love and affection of the masses in the industry, so it is big news when they announce that not only is Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing coming to the iOS, but they are partnering with OpenFeint to make it all possible.
But why would Sega shun the world of GameCenter, when it is the most readily available among the iOS consumer base, you ask? The answer is simple: Cross Platform Connectivity.
"Cross platform mobile social gaming is a major goal of SEGA and we believe Sonic will continue to entertain and inspire consumers while on the go. OpenFeint offers a great platform to launch games on, whether it be through access to their enormous player community or the use of great cross-promotional features like developer announcements." -- Haruki Satomi, Vice President of Digital Business at SEGA.
What this means is that not only will the multiplayer of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing be a parallel of its console counterparts, but it will also allow you to play against audiences on competing platforms, like possibly Android. While we have no official confirmation of that, the comment above would certainly lead one to believe it to be true.
From a developer's perspective however, this would be a godsend, because not only would cross-platform play increase the player base immensely, but it will also allow changes to be made at the server level for portions of the multiplayer, without forcing the users to download an update to the actual client game. This will be a big step forward that could lead to a greatly improved user experience.
Stay tuned, because we will have more hands-on impressions of the game while we troll the show floor at E3, next week.