Apple's Game Center Is Now Available

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Posted by Jeff (3400 posts) -

GB_CAPTIONTEXT_11 
Apple rolled out iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod Touch today, and if you have a relatively modern device (meaning something newer than an iPhone 3G), you can give it a go right now. The new software addition is Game Center, Apple's unified service for player matching, friends lists, leaderboards, and achievements. So far it seems... functional?

If I was going to release a unified player matching service, I think I'd roll out a series of games at the same time and try to make a big deal out of it. But for a few hours this morning, it looked like there was nothing. And so far, all I've been able to find is Ms. Pac-Man, which was updated about an hour ago to include Game Center support. I decided to pick up a copy of that (it's five bucks right now) to see how it all works.

First thing's first: this is not a very good version of Ms. Pac-Man. I'm playing on an iPhone 4, and the movement feels a bit jerkier than the real arcade machine does. Also, the game hitches up whenever I collect fruit. On top of that, none of the control options are very good. But you probably already guessed that. Unless you're looking to write an article about Game Center for the popular gaming website you write for, I can't recommend it at all.

The Game Center achievement stuff pops up at the end of the game with a bunch of placeholder achievement ID text. I guess that'll take another update to Ms. Pac-Man or something. It's all a bit slicker in the actual Game Center app, though.

One game of Ms. Pac-Man with a score of just under 50,000 points was enough to get me 12 of the 25 achievements. It also put me on top of my friends leaderboard and put me in the Top 5% of scores, which is sort of a neat way to display overall rankings.

You know, if I liked more iPhone games (or if the right iPhone games were updated with Game Center support), this stuff would actually be pretty cool. You can launch games right out of the Game Center app, meaning you could always shove all of your games onto the last page of your phone in folders that you'll never have to sift through. Even in this weird, half-finished, barely supported state, it seems to provide a better on-phone experience than most of the other unifying achievement services on iPhone. Of course, it also lacks support for Facebook and some of the other bells and whistles that things like OpenFeint already do.
Staff
#1 Posted by Jeff (3400 posts) -

GB_CAPTIONTEXT_11 
Apple rolled out iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod Touch today, and if you have a relatively modern device (meaning something newer than an iPhone 3G), you can give it a go right now. The new software addition is Game Center, Apple's unified service for player matching, friends lists, leaderboards, and achievements. So far it seems... functional?

If I was going to release a unified player matching service, I think I'd roll out a series of games at the same time and try to make a big deal out of it. But for a few hours this morning, it looked like there was nothing. And so far, all I've been able to find is Ms. Pac-Man, which was updated about an hour ago to include Game Center support. I decided to pick up a copy of that (it's five bucks right now) to see how it all works.

First thing's first: this is not a very good version of Ms. Pac-Man. I'm playing on an iPhone 4, and the movement feels a bit jerkier than the real arcade machine does. Also, the game hitches up whenever I collect fruit. On top of that, none of the control options are very good. But you probably already guessed that. Unless you're looking to write an article about Game Center for the popular gaming website you write for, I can't recommend it at all.

The Game Center achievement stuff pops up at the end of the game with a bunch of placeholder achievement ID text. I guess that'll take another update to Ms. Pac-Man or something. It's all a bit slicker in the actual Game Center app, though.

One game of Ms. Pac-Man with a score of just under 50,000 points was enough to get me 12 of the 25 achievements. It also put me on top of my friends leaderboard and put me in the Top 5% of scores, which is sort of a neat way to display overall rankings.

You know, if I liked more iPhone games (or if the right iPhone games were updated with Game Center support), this stuff would actually be pretty cool. You can launch games right out of the Game Center app, meaning you could always shove all of your games onto the last page of your phone in folders that you'll never have to sift through. Even in this weird, half-finished, barely supported state, it seems to provide a better on-phone experience than most of the other unifying achievement services on iPhone. Of course, it also lacks support for Facebook and some of the other bells and whistles that things like OpenFeint already do.
Staff
#2 Edited by Pixeldemon (244 posts) -

cool  
 
edit:  But yeah, I have an Ipod Touch 4 on order, and I'm looking forward to checking this stuff out, in the hopes that it doesn't all suck.

#3 Posted by Atwa (609 posts) -

If i had a iphone :<

#4 Posted by AjayRaz (12416 posts) -

why does this just remind me of Game Room? 

#5 Posted by MaKKAPAKKA3 (11 posts) -

Does that mean I can't get it on my 2G?

#6 Posted by cdfishman (259 posts) -

Once angry birds and other popular titles make the jump/update this will become a lot more valid than it is at the moment.

#7 Posted by ShaneDev (1696 posts) -

They probably threw this out there before MS gets Xbox live out with Windows Phone 7, perhaps a reason for its poor state.

#8 Posted by LiquidPenguins (181 posts) -

iPhone gaming is forgettable at best, and I don't think this is going to fix that.

#9 Posted by RustySpoon (143 posts) -

First Ping... now this. At least Game Center seems to have potential.

#10 Posted by Warchief (650 posts) -

if I only played games on my iphone but I dont. 

#11 Posted by TobyD81 (1227 posts) -

Needs work. I have quite a few iPhone games, including many popular ones (Angry Birds, anyone?) and none of them popped into my game list. I'm sure support will come, but it should have been there at launch. I really don't like the felt card table look of the app.

#12 Posted by pgn (17 posts) -

Apple ain't gonna tell me this app and the API needs the processing power of a 3GS+ device ...  
 
Also, a proper controller, wireless or otherwise would be SUCH an obvious step in my book. But no. Game center.

#13 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6986 posts) -

I'm good, thanks Apple.

#14 Posted by LordAndrew (14417 posts) -

Does it have Jungler?

#15 Posted by MrMiyagi (929 posts) -

 GB_CAPTIONTEXT_11

 
I lol'd.

 
#16 Posted by Lukeweizer (2584 posts) -

4.0.2 update messed my iPod touch, so I won't be updating my new one any time soon.

#17 Posted by TheIneffableBob (243 posts) -

Meh. Bring on PlayStation Android!

#18 Posted by MegaGoat (219 posts) -

Finally, something to replace Game Room

#19 Posted by Warchief (650 posts) -
@LiquidPenguins said:
" iPhone gaming is forgettable at best, and I don't think this is going to fix that. "
indeed. I have yet to play a game on the iphone that was remarkable. I should not pick on the iphone games in general that use touch controls on a phone just suck.  
The new win 7 phone games [tested] suffer the same issues. 
#20 Posted by LiquidPrince (15833 posts) -

I can't find the damn iPhone 4 anywhere, for the carrier I want. I walked into Futureshop today and they had like 10 of them, but all for Telus... No one fucking wants Telus...

#21 Posted by MotorbreathX (23 posts) -

Meh, I'm avoiding updates until I get word they actually work.

#22 Posted by Asadasa5 (67 posts) -
@TobyD81: Pretty much where I'm at. I wonder how long it will take older games to get patched for gamecenter support? 
#23 Posted by JesseCherry (63 posts) -
@LiquidPrince: No one wants at&t here in the states, but we, including myself, buy them anyway. At least it gives us something to gripe about.  
#24 Posted by Rhombus_Of_Terror (2088 posts) -
@AjayRaz said:
" why does this just remind me of Game Room?  "
Endurance Quick Look forthcoming!
#25 Posted by wibby (246 posts) -

P A  Double S
#26 Posted by LiquidPrince (15833 posts) -
@JesseCherry said:
" @LiquidPrince: No one wants at&t here in the states, but we, including myself, buy them anyway. At least it gives us something to gripe about.   "
Is it weird that I read your name as Jesus Cherry?
#27 Posted by NPfeifer (171 posts) -

Who cares about iPhone's Game Center when Windows Phone is going to have Xbox Live integration in just a few months and is going to have a rocking game release schedule?

#28 Posted by NemoDat (65 posts) -
@TheIneffableBob:
Man I hope that happens this year. Def ready to move on from my iPhone and that phone would make all my dreams come true.
#29 Posted by Enchanted_Jew (1 posts) -

unbelievable..... 

#30 Posted by FinalDasa (1451 posts) -

If I can link the points to my GB profile, then I will play

#31 Posted by Lumley (941 posts) -

It said everywhere it wouldn't work on my iPod touch 2G and it strangely does work. 
 
The problem Game Center is that most iPod games are OpenFeint compatible

Online
#32 Posted by dvorak (1496 posts) -

All I wanted was a fix to the proximity sensor issue, and I got it.

#33 Posted by BRG9000 (144 posts) -

How do you actually download this? Don't see it in the app store on my phone.

#34 Posted by LLJK_Jasta (291 posts) -

This is a cool move by Apple.  Sure, iPhone games are mostly novelties, but this is a free service that should only add to the enjoyment of such games.

#35 Posted by dvorak (1496 posts) -
@BRG9000 said:
" How do you actually download this? Don't see it in the app store on my phone. "
It's part of the iOS 4.1 update.
#36 Posted by MisterMouse (3539 posts) -

yeah I downloaded the update, and went to see the games that were available and saw nothing... the service seems nice though.

#37 Posted by Alex_V (614 posts) -
@Warchief said:
" if I only played games on my iphone but I dont.  "
I would guess it's probably more relevant for people who do, yes.
#38 Edited by shakra (252 posts) -

I just released an update to apple to include gamecenter on Clown Harder :D 
I hope they approve it soon. 
Video is up at Clownharder.com

#39 Posted by BRG9000 (144 posts) -
@dvorak said:
" @BRG9000 said:
" How do you actually download this? Don't see it in the app store on my phone. "
It's part of the iOS 4.1 update. "
Ah, didn't realize that was out. It'll have to wait til I'm home from work. :( Thanks!
#40 Posted by ZenaxPure (2569 posts) -

I have quite a few paid iPhone games and not a single one supports the service so far. Hopefully in time they will be added. Like damn if I could get achievements on my copy of FF1 or Chaos Rings I'd be ridiculously happy but I don't have much faith in Square updating them to do it.  
 
PvZ and Peggle on the other hand I will be insanely shocked if they do not add support soon, especially considering other versions of those games already have it (Steam/XBL).

#41 Posted by RJPelonia (854 posts) -

I have an iPhone 3G! ...Fuck!

#42 Posted by VicRattlehead (1398 posts) -

ive a 3g.... hopeing a future jailbreak will enable this... like the multitasking and such..

#43 Posted by dagas (2744 posts) -

I have a first gen touch so I can't play these games. Not that it matters. I bought Broken Sword, but haven't played much even though I like it since when at home I play 360 and on the go I listen to podcasts and music rather than play games.

#44 Posted by DukeTogo (1504 posts) -

Crapple.

#45 Posted by TobyD81 (1227 posts) -
@AjayRaz:  Similarity in name maybe, but that's all. This is trying to be more like Xbox Live for iPhone with a structured Achievement system and game invites. But game developers have to build the compatibility into their games for it to work.
#46 Posted by masterpaperlink (1829 posts) -

pretty useless so far

#47 Posted by KoolAid (821 posts) -

I'm making a iphone game this very instant that has game center support.  We are so damn close to releasing the update... like hours away.  It's a Trading card game with RTS elements, so it takes advantage of game center matchmaking better then it sounds like pac man does.  

#48 Edited by JoelTGM (5596 posts) -

um, I have the latest iPod Touch.  There's no update available.
Oh I see.  I have to sync the iPod with iTunes for it to tell me there's an update.  I was just checking for an iTunes update.

#49 Posted by kaiyouske (16 posts) -

Apple obviously didn't have this very well thought out.  There were no games on the list at the time when I had my Gamecenter up and running.  What's the point of this with no games?  EPIC FAIL

#50 Posted by virtorio (248 posts) -

Don't much care for the Casino look.

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