iOS Game Center is a Lifeless App Out of the Gate

By  |  Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

When the iOS 4.1 update went live a couple hours ago, I fully intended to tinker with Game Center and to post some impressions here. But so far, my only impression of the social gaming hub for iPhone and iPod Touch is that it wasn’t fully-baked at launch.

Since installing Game Center before lunch, I’ve accumulated a few friends, and we’re all wondering the same thing: Now what? Aside from adding friends and altering a status message, there isn’t anything to do in Game Center. The app doesn’t tell you what games are supported or provide links to the App Store. A button for “Find Game Center Games” boots the player out Apple’s Game Center web page, which is basically an advertisement with no resources for people who are already using the service. Apparently, Ms. Pac-Man is one of the first games to support Game Center, but there’s no way to figure that out from within the app.

I’ve had high hopes for Game Center since Apple announced it alongside iOS 4 in April. The concept is a lot like Xbox Live — you can invite friends to games, rack up achievements and get paired with strangers of similar skill in multiplayer  – but it’s still a novel idea for smartphones and handheld game consoles. This was a clever move by Apple, adding a social layer to its App Store games to keep people hooked.

So I was thinking today’s launch would be a grand occasion, with iPhone and iPod Touch gamers — there are apparently so many of them — buzzing about with challenges and friend requests. Instead, Game Center’s launch day is a bust. As soon as Apple adds some actual things to do, I’ll post some real impressions. In the meantime, look for me under the nickname ThePimpOfSound.

 
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14 Comments For This Post

  1. Shaune Says:

    I found that quite lame too. It would have been nice to feature some of the games available. I'm not sure even how to track down games that will support this feature.

  2. Edward Says:

    Definitely a weak start. Should've at least included a couple basic games like chess or checkers, to get the ball rolling. Instead, you're left out to pasture, with no games, no suggestions on how to start, and no game directory of supported games. Missed opportunity.

  3. shawn Says:

    Jailbroken-me got it off of cydia so I could get my typical username w/o it getting stolen somehow.

    OpenFeint must be pooing their pants…

  4. @scottaw Says:

    You probably know by now that they have a list of games that support gamecenter. or maybe you don't. But they do.

  5. lesinge32 Says:

    you like pac man check out the video this swiss artist made, it’s pretty awesome. http://monkeybusiness1.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/a

  6. freebie jeebies Says:

    Surely this was just getting Game Center out there, once developers get on top of it and start releasing compatible games it'll become a great feature?

  7. Lloyd Meyer Says:

    I own a company and supply iPhones to my employees as a benefit and also a way to connect with my employees. The last thing I want is a social gaming app on my company phones. It's one thing to do a free test app as part of a software upgrade. Quite another to install a permanent program that can't be removed. The arrogance of Apple in forcing their products on their customers in this way is very telling. Apple continues to have the worst connectivity problems with their exclusive AT&T contract, so it is an easy decision for my to move to another product. I have scheduled a call with Apple tomorrow. If they do not remove the program, we will move to another provider.

  8. Disappointed Says:

    I too agree with Lloyd Meyer. As a business customer, we too are looking to the I-Phone since we already use AT&T for our Blackberries. We will go with another vendor or keep using the Blackberry until something else comes along. I hate that we cannot remove that Game Center on the 4.1 IPhone upgrade.

  9. Wally McCarty Says:

    You don't need to remove Game Center folks.. You can simply restrict it's use in the settings under restrictions. Ok, so all you can do is restrict multi-player games. However you can render the whole issue moot by restricting the installation of apps which would prevent your employee's from installing games in the first place. You have control of what can and can't be done with your phone's through restrictions. No need to throw your hands up in the air and run away just because you feel helpless. LOL!

  10. DTT Says:

    restricting it is not good enough.. I don't want to be prompted to sign into anything!! get it off!!

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  14. Game Center Games Says:

    I am really loving game center myself. I just hope they continue to push the envelope with it.

    The one thing I would really love to see is one of the features that xbox live has. On xbox live you can go into Facebook and choose to find your Facebook friends that have xbox live, and then add them. It would be awesome if game center had a feature similar to this. It would make finding my friends so much easier.