Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Game Center:  Social Network For More Than Gamers

It isn't unusual for Apple to change names of a product. And Game Center, being billed as a social gaming network, can grow beyond gaming and Apple is likely to change the name as it becomes a full fledged social network.

That's what it is going to become over time. A full network but likely much with more to offer than anything we have in existence today. You want a couple of examples? Look at what Apple has done to the mobile market. And also look at what it plans to do with iAd in advertising.

One of the reasons I started thinking about this is because I've made a couple of long distance friends while playing Chess With Friends and Words With Friends. Even with such a rudimentary set of social interactions, I come back to it again and again.

It is absolutely rare such happens now but as more developers integrate Game Center into their gaming apps, developers will discover that it is not only gaming apps that can benefit from a social network. And users will find it more useful than to keep track of high scores or tracking achievements.

Don't be surprised if Apple eventually integrate a friend list as part of the evolution of Game Center.

For those of us who are familiar with MobileMe, it would make sense for Apple to integrate Game Center into its online services. There was word that Apple will making some of the MobileMe services free for all who wants to use it.

Furthermore, I fully expect Apple to provide the option for its iTunes customers to be become MobileMe users. And by default, Game Center users as well. In one stroke, it will have more than one hundred and fifty million members just like that.

MobileMe integration will be key. Imagine being able to create a list for friends and a separate list for gaming buddies. This will afford users greater privacy. And let's not forget why Apple is doing all this. iAd will help Apple and developers make money.

Of course, all this is conjecture on my part but this is the likely course of development going forward.

Game Center is going to be huge. You just watch. It will be the backbone of anything iOS, OS X, iDevices, iTunes, and Macs going forward. And depending on how you see it, this Apple social network will have Steve Jobs as the wizard.

Note: I am sure it didn't escape Apple and Steve Jobs' attention that Facebook CEO Zuckerberg dissed the iPhone 4 on his own Facebook page. So here's message for you, Zuckerberg: Apple might look like it's got its hands full with Google. But trust me, it can fight more than one war at a time.

-- Post From My iPad

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