If you are running iOS 10 or earlier on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, then you should have a good idea about the Game Center app. Apple introduced this app so iOS gamers can socially play games that are compatible with the app, and keep a track of scores, play with other players and so on. Since iOS is one of the largest platform for games, thanks to the App Store, the Game Center app was loved by all.
However, with the release of iOS 10, the Game Center app disappeared from the system. It was no longer available as a standalone app in iOS 10, but was dissolved into a setting. You could still have the Game Center feature enabled in iOS games, but everything was hidden away.
What is the Game Center?
Apple introduced the Game Center app in iOS 4.1 and it is still available in devices running anything earlier than iOS 10. The app allows users to keep a track of your achievements in games and compare it with other players around the world. You can also compete with others who are playing the same games as you.
To use Game Center, all you needed was your Apple ID, and you were set to play against other users. The app came pre-installed with the OS and you didn’t have to download any additional items. Games that were compatible with Game Center would automatically appear in the app.
The app would send notifications if a player beat your score, and would also motivate you to keep playing the games. It was a fun app, and still works on iOS 10 or later, to some extent. However, as mentioned earlier, it is no longer a Home-screen app on iOS 10 and above.
What happened to Game Center?
Nothing, is the short answer. The Game Center is still alive, but Apple has now transformed it into just a service. This service has been baked in to iOS and is available for supported games. On iOS 10 or later, if you launch the Settings app and scroll down, you will see the Game Center option. Heading into this setting will show you the Game Center features. This is what happened to Game Center.
Game Center services still retains all the functionality of the app. If you have logged in with your Apple ID, you will have access to all your scores and achievements from when the service was an app. It will continue to keep a track of your scores and also provides a leaderboard within games that are compatible.
You can still invite friends to play games with the service, but it all now works from the settings app. From within a compatible game, you can invite players and auto-match with others for a multiplayer session.
The Game Center app also allowed users to record gameplay. Fortunately, that feature is still available in iOS 10 or later with the Game Center service. Some of the features that didn’t make it to the service include, ability to add friends and see their stats, and adding a profile photo or status.
Notifications for Game Center services is also available, as long as you enable notifications for Games. You can do this by heading over to Settings > Notifications > Games. The scores, achievements, challenges, the scoreboard, everything is available within the game. Since app developers have to choose to either embed all features, some or none, your experience with games will vary.
There is no way to tell if a game supports Game Center before downloading. You also can’t tell what features you will get even if the game supports the Game Center service. The Game Center service is available from iOS 10 to the latest version, and also on the Apple Watch.
Manage Game Center
If you still play a lot of games on iOS that are compatible with Game Center, then you can easily manage your Game Center account from the Settings app. Although things have changed a little, the core functions of Game Center are still available for users. To manage your Game Center account, you feel need to do the following.
1. Launch the Settings app.
2. Scroll down to find the Game Center option.
3. Tap on Game Center and then enable the feature if it isn’t enabled.
Once you have enabled Game Center, it will automatically sign you in using your Apple ID. You can also create a new account if you want, but then that would erase all your previous achievements and friends.
The settings also features an option to invite players who are connected to the same Wi-Fi as you. It also works if their Bluetooth is turned on. This feature is known as Nearby Players and you can invite your friend to play a compatible game.
You can also change the name of your Game Center profile from the Settings. This profile name will be visible to other users who want to invite you to play games. To change your name, tap on the Nickname field and type in a new name. You can then tap on Done to save the changes.
There’s also a Friends option in the Game Center settings. This feature only allows you to remove your friends. There is no option to add friends or remove individual friends. You can only remove all the friends in the list, so best not to play with this option.
Download Game Center Compatible Games
In iOS 10 or later, there is no easy way to tell if a game supports Game Center. Previously, games that supported Game Center were labeled in the App Store. That is no longer the case, so you will have to download and check if a game supports the service. You can, however, search the app store using the Game center keyword to find games.
Most of the games you find should support some features of Game Center, if not all. Also, in the older Game Center app, you could browse through supported games from the app itself. That’s also not available anymore.
If you already have a few games installed on your iDevice, then you can also check if the app supports Game Center. All you have to do, is launch the game and if a message slides from the top with the Game Center logo, then you’re lucky.
This means that this game supports Game Center and you can head to the game settings to check scores, leaderboards and even invite players to play along. Remember, you need to enable Game Center in the Settings app and also need to sign in, for this to work.
Now you know what happened to Game Center and where you can find it on iOS 10 or later. It is still alive and well.