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iPhone OS 4.0 Game Center Shows Apple's Ambition To Challenge Nintendo

Apple presented the Game center for the iPhone OS 4 as its 6th tent pole and possibly one of its revenue earners moving forward on the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad as the App store currently stock more than 50,000 altogether.

This is around nine times more than the total number of games on the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS portable gaming consoles put together. But then, quality, rather than quantity should be the rule of thumb and one could argue that a Windows notebook actually has more games than all three put together.

Scott Forstall, Senior vice president of iPhone software at Apple, presented the Game center as a social gaming network. Remove "gaming" from the equation and you have Apple's announcement of a sketch of a Facebook-esque social networking service.

Game Center will allow users to invite friends, "matchmake" each other, produce leaderboards and display achievements. Interestingly, the Game Center resembles Microsoft's Xbox Live the most, Microsoft being the only console manufacturer without a portable gaming console.

Ironically, on Monday, Kotaku reported that Nintendo's president Reggie Fils-Aime said that the Japanese company won't feel the impact of Apple based on data he'd seen. Arguably, his arguments no longer hold now since Nintendo doesn't even has a Game Center equivalent.

Add to the fact that the Game Center functionality will be included in the iPhone OS 4 which in turn will seed tens of millions of mobile Apple devices and the threat to established gaming players is real especially as Apple will be able to claim that it has the most powerful gaming platform around when the new iPhone is launched.

Our Comments

Keith Stuart of the Guardian says that the Game Center is the most important announcement of yesterday's event and he might probably be just right. Why? Because unlike multitasking, gaming is set to be another multi-billion market for Apple, possibly more than the nascent mobile advertising platform it launched at the same time.

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