We've talked about OpenFeint quite a few times on the site before (and even interviewed the creators), but while they're definitely one of the biggest names in creating gaming communities for the iPhone, they're not alone. A company called Scoreloop has today announced a service called "Scoreloop Community," made up of two different features: a web presence, and a downloadable application for the iPhone that hooks right into other developers' games and apps and allows players to create avatars, view friends and their activities, and share challenges and high scores with others. Just like OpenFeint, Scoreloop says they're offering an easy-to-implement solution for push notifications, letting players send and receive messages (as well as promote and encourage usage of games in the service) and earn achievements and tokens.
Of course, the real test for services like this will be in the implementation -- while OpenFeint claims a nice stable of developers, we still haven't seen too many apps take advantage of the latest and greatest versions (Pocket God is an extremely popular app that has implemented OpenFeint, but they use an older version of the software that doesn't have nearly as many features as the latest). Scoreloop says they've got over 50 game commitments from third-party developers already (it sounds like Zombie Pub Crawl is their biggest title yet), but even then, it remains to be seen exactly how devs will implement their functionality, and how players take to the service.
If you're a developer looking to implement push notifications and social challenges and networking in your app, it seems that there's no shortage of companies willing to step in and help you do exactly that (you can download the free SDK, if interested, on Scoreloop's site). But in terms of how consumers view and will use these networks, it's still a very wide open field.