Social gaming in Jewels 2?

In my (hideously lengthy, apologies) last post, I briefly mentioned about the social integration options for Jewels 2. For this one, I'd like to you — dear readers (if any! 😛) — to chime in, as to what would you like to see for the social gaming options in Jewels 2. This means score sharing, leaderboards, possibly achievements (should I think of any worth adding), etc. (Side note: the game will have a local high score tables in any case.)

First of all: does the game actually need to have a social component? As I was thinking about the possible options, I started leaning towards including only the basics: score sharing and nothing else. No leaderboards (fact is: they are bound to get hacked sooner than later). The player would be able to share their score to, say, Facebook and Twitter, if they wanted to. What do you think, as players? Would you miss the online leaderboards (even if they're about to be filled with fake scores)? Let me know in comments.

Alright, for discussion's sake, let's assume the majority of you would prefer to have online leaderboards. Never mind the fake scores problem. As I see it, I have three options for Jewels 2:

  1. Use the built-in (1st party) gaming integration for each target platform. For example Game Center on Apple devices.
  2. Use a cross-platform social gaming component (3rd party), that works on majority of the target devices. For example Scoreloop.
  3. Don't use anything (i.e. just the basic score sharing as outlined above)

Options #1 and #3 are currently my favorites. Using built-in platform features would equal to less problems than with 3rd party options. This would be ideal, right? We have Game Center, we have Game Circle for Amazon Kindle devices, we have Scoreloop for BlackBerry devices… Notice anything missing? Google! Whoah! What the hell, why is there not a built-in gaming component on Android? I don't know. Hopefully Google will announce something next year; it would be great to have a built-in one (as long as it's optional and not intrusive).

Android users, what do you think if Jewels 2 (for Android) didn't have online leaderboards, but the version on all the other platforms did? Naturally I would support Google's own solution should it emerge.

As for option #2: I'd really rather not add 3rd party components unless I have to, but assuming you players would want to have cross-platform leaderboards, there would be no other option but integrate a 3rd party service. What would it be? Scoreloop? OpenFeint is no more. What about HeyZap? Any ideas?

Option #3 I already explained at the beginning of this post. This would be the most pain free solution from developers point of view, but obviously if the players want something, I do my best to provide. Hence this post. 🙂

Oh, almost forgot the achievements! Anybody want those?

Feel free to.., no, actually I encourage you to comment if you have something to say regarding this topic! I'm very interested in hearing from you, otherwise I have to decide it myself and probably get buried in complaints… 😉