updated 04:30 pm EDT, Mon June 14, 2010
Service preps in advance of iOS 4 launch
Developers can finally log into Apple's Game Center network, accounts say. After a person enters an existing Apple ID or creates a new one, a terms-of-service screen is now displayed. Users can then set up a unique Game Center account, with a nickname and settings for allowing invites, or being found by other gamers via e-mail. At a "Me" homescreen, people can can keep track of friends, games and achievements, or set a status message.
A Friends tab lets users find other people on Game Center and send new friend requests, or unfriend people already on a list. Requests are managed by means of a third tab.
Game Center is a feature associated with the upcoming iOS 4, and essentially functions as an equivalent to Microsoft's Xbox Live for Apple handhelds. It simplifies matchmaking in compatible games, and provides bragging rights not only via achievements but also through scoreboards. Because the iPad version of iOS 4 is not due until the fall, Game Center will initially be limited to iPhones and iPod touches.
Having Game Center functioning as soon as possible may be crucial for iOS 4 developers, as the first edition of the firmware is due on June 21st, leaving little time for playtesting launch apps.