Welcome to Apple's Social Game Center - The UpStream

Welcome to Apple's Social Game Center

posted Sunday Apr 11, 2010 by Scott Ertz

Welcome to Apple's Social Game Center

Mobile gaming has been evolving as of late. Nintendo added social gaming to their DS series a while back. Microsoft has announced the inclusion of Xbox Live in WinPho 7. Even the Apple mobile platform has a couple of choices for gaming networks, including OpenFeint and Plus+. When iPhone OS 4.0 releases this summer, Apple users will have yet another choice - Apple Game Center.

Game Center will have all of the features you would expect to find in a social gaming network - achievements, friends lists, leaderboards, matchmaking, profiles, etc. What does this mean for OpenFeint and Plus+, though? Both companies seem to have been prepared for this possibility down the line and appear to have a plan in place to not necessarily compete against it, but use it to enhance their own product offering. ngmoco's chief publishing officer, Simon Jeffrey, said in an email statement,

Game Center is an exciting first-party innovation for the ecosystem that reinforces much of what plus+ has already accomplished and proven out early in its life cycle. It will effectively clean up the social space on the iPhone, which has become confusing and cluttered to consumers due to the number of social gaming networks vying for attention. ngmoco has anticipated this move from Apple for some time, and is happy to see a cleaner developer and consumer experience on the horizon.

Aurora Feint CEO Jason Citron took a similar stance, saying,

OpenFeint X is currently built on top of OpenFeint and in the future it will also sit on Apple's Game Center social graph, achievements and leaderboards so developers and gamers don't miss a step. Apple is a key partner and we are delighted that they have validated the first half of the OpenFeint vision and we can now fulfill the second half: OpenFeint X and Virtual Goods based Social Games. Our developers can be 100 percent assured that we will continue to invest in OpenFeint so our 1500 live games, 2000 games in development and 19M players have a flawless experience with OpenFeint and Game Center.

So, these existing systems believe they will be able to work with Apple to create a unified platform that will have unique features if you use one of the skinned services. My fear is that, since Google wasn't even able to convince Apple to play ball, these guys will have even less of a chance. I think Apple is out for blood, or at least a way of implementing iAd into everyone's faces.

What do you guys think about Game Center? Are you planning on switching or are you content with the system you're using now? Or do you think mobile social gaming is a waste? Let us know below.

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