Not long ago Steve Jobs stood on a stage at Apple headquarters and announced Ping!. Many claim it is Apple’s first real dive into the social networking scene. But even before that, Jobs spoke at an Apple Special Event just after the iPad launch to introduce iOS 4. Included in that launch was Game Center.
Game Center is Apple’s online gaming service. It is a mobile version of what Xbox Live is on the Xbox 360, or what Playstation Network is for Playstation 3. It’s a hub for players to meet up and play games with and against each other. If you still don’t understand, this is what Apple says it is –
Game Center lets friends — and soon-to-be-friends — in on the action. Invite someone to join, then get a game going. Or go up against people you don’t know, from anywhere in the world, in a multiplayer game. It’s your world. Everyone else is just playing in it.
The real difference between Ping, and Game Center is the function of the services. Ping allows you to do the normal social network activities like following friends, liking music and commenting on posts. Game Center does not have these options. Game Center is there to pair gamers up so that multiplayer games across the internet can take place. It serves as a center to see what people are playing and what achievements they have accomplished in the games.
Another difference is how the services are accessible. Ping is aviable to iOS devices as well as in the iTunes application on Mac or PC. However Game Center is only on the iOS devices, making it a mobile only application.
What confuses me is why the two are not combined into one. Apple could very well have plans to merge the two into one product in the future, but as for now they come as stand alone networks. Would putting Game Center under the Ping umbrella be beneficial?
I believe one day Apple will incorporate Game Center into Ping. It would be cool if users could like games, and comment on peoples scores all within Ping, like they are with music and video now.
Apple’s App Store is thriving with thousands of games on it already, and it will only continue to grow. As they sell more iOS devices, the ability for Game Center to become a major social gaming network only grows.
The future for Game Center looks bright. Even if it is folded into the Ping umbrella, I believe that it won’t hurt Game Center, but help Apple’s social network in general. Apple has built such a large advantage with the number of iOS devices on the market, it will take a large mistake on Apple’s part for Game Center to fail. As for Ping, my post about it explains what I believe will come of that.
Image/Quote Source: Game Center