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Opinion: Unloved Game Center slowly builds momentum with 100+ supported games

Doodle Jump is the latest addition
Opinion: Unloved Game Center slowly builds momentum with 100+ supported games

When Apple announced its own social network for iPhone, there was plenty of excitement, as well as dismay from the existing players in the sector such as OpenFeint.

Two months on however, and not much appears to have significantly changed.

OpenFeint is still being used by many developers, although it and Scoreloop are now mainly focused on cross platform support for Android and the other emerging platforms. Plus+, ngmoco's platform, is all about online and freemium.

As for Game Center, it's slowly, slowly, oh so slowly, picking up pace.

Slow hand clap

According to my calculations, there are now over 100 games using it. (94 in the official list plus a bunch more than for some reason aren't yet included).

Key million selling games such as Angry Birds, Flight Control, FarmVille and Fruit Ninja have retrospectively integrated the tech - often alongside their existing another solutions. Doodle Jump was the most recent to add Game Center in its current update.

Publishers ranging from Chillingo to Glu, Capcom, Zygna, Namco and some indies are also using it. Even Gameloft has dipped its toe in the water with its Star Battalion game.

Over 1.5 million accounts have been activated too; something that sure to get a bump as iPad support comes with the release of iOS 4.2.

So what?

But Game Center doesn't seem to be greatly favoured by new titles, or much liked by gamers. Frankly, most iOS users don't have a clue what it is. 

Overall it's clear the platform has yet to change the iOS gaming ecosystem.

Certainly on a personal level, it's something used rarely, whereas at least OpenFeint and Plus+ forced you to interact with them every time you played a supported title.

Maybe that's just the Apple way. Get something basic up and running and then slowly build out with each new iOS firmware release. Let's hope iOS 4.2 adds something significant.