Game Center, one of Apple’s less talked about platform components is getting an all-new design this year with a focus on finding games and playing with friends. Other details in WWDC game development talks this year include leveraging the new game controller advancements, how to offer users the ability to share clips from games, and more.
After years of considering removing Game Center from iOS, it appears Apple has decided to officially pull it as evidenced with today’s first iOS 10 beta. As this is a first beta, there is a possibility we could see the application’s return before this fall when iOS 10 is officially released to the public.
As stock apps have hit the App Store, and users can now delete most of them on iOS 10, it’s entirely possible Apple falls back to allowing Game Center as an App Store download. Personally, it will be nice to have one less app I no longer use on my home screen.
Sega today released an update to its classic gaming title Sonic the Hedgehog. The update brings Apple TV support to the table, adding more value to the universal app.
Those of you who’ve already purchased Sonic the Hedgehog on iOS will therefore be able to enjoy the game on the 4th generation Apple TV free of charge. Everyone else will need to pony up $2.99 for the privilege of playing the classic game, but your money goes a long way, as it’s playable on the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV.
Bring a little bit of nostalgia to your wrist today with the new Apple Watch game, A Tiny Game of Pong. Based on the 1970’s classic game, A Tiny Game of Pong lets players compete to beat the computer or against friends through Game Center leaderboard integrations. But how do you fit Pong on a tiny display?
Apple is typically pretty tight lipped about product and user stats and data unless it has a giant number it wants to share. We’re told number of iPhones sold on opening weekend and total billions of dollars paid out to developers in total, but we don’t know how many Apple Watches have been sold or which iPads are most popular.
But analyst Kirk Burgess points out on Twitter that Apple’s Game Center app openly boasts how many users it has with a giant number hidden in plain sight. Take a guess at just how many “players” Apple’s social gaming network has racked up in total. The answer: about 77,000 more than it had about 8 hours ago.
After initially holding back a new iOS 9 feature called App Thinning (or App Slicing) that allows developers to ship smaller apps to customers and download additional content as needed, Apple now says it has resolved the issue that caused the delay. Starting with the recently released iOS 9.0.2, users will have access to updated apps that take advantage of App Thinning. Apple also updated developers on a Game Center-related change and rolled out an improved way for finding content from Apple’s developer sessions.
iOS 8 turns iPhone into the ultimate game controller for iPad & Mac, Game Center hits 130M monthly active users
Apple took some time to talk gaming during a presentation closed to the public yesterday at WWDC. While noting that gaming is now an area that Apple is “pushing on very strongly”, the company also announced a new feature coming for gamers and developers: Controller Forwarding.
Digitimes: iWatch circuit board samples being delivered to Apple in preparation for September reveal
On Tuesday we reported that Apple was planning to reveal its entry into the wearable market in August or September. Now a new Digitimes report corroborates that timeframe. According to the new report, three different firms have supplied Apple with samples of flexible circuit boards that will be integrated into the iWatch for a fall release.
The companies involved are Flexium Interconnect, Career Technology, and Zhen Ding Technology Holding, according to Digitimes. Zhen Ding Technology Holding is currently Apple’s largest supplier of such parts and is reportedly planning to increase production in order to meet increased demand for iPhone and iPad circuitry.
As with all Digitimes reports, it’s probably best to take this with a grain of salt given their less-than-stellar track record.
Besides adding new Maps, Healthbook, and iTunes Radio applications, Apple plans to enhance and refine the functionality of some of its current pre-bundled applications and features for iOS 8. Here is a list, provided by sources, of some of the refinements Apple is considering for select applications and system functions in iOS 8:
Apple’s online services going down intermittently, DNS problem/hack likely culprit (Update: Mostly back)
Update: The bad DNS entries appear to almost completely be purged and it appears that Apple services are working correctly.[tweet https://twitter.com/RaceJohnson/status/443882675011469312 align=’center’]
Apple’s website and online stores are experiencing issues for many users, according to various tips and reports we’ve received across Twitter. Apple.com, iTunes, the App Store, and some other web services (but not all) are all reporting that they are unavailable.
Some services (like iMessage and Game Center) seem to be unaffected at the moment.
Introduced by Apple at the September 10 iPhone 5s event, Nike has launched its Nike+ Move application for the iPhone 5s. The app was originally scheduled to arrive on November 6th alongside the new FuelBand SE hardware, but it appears that Nike unleashed the program a bit early.
The application requires an iPhone 5s as it is completely based off of the new iPhone’s M7 motion co-processor chipset. The M7 chip, which Apple plans to integrate with its own mapping software next year, works with the iPhone’s motion sensors (like the compass and accelerometer) to provide by reliable data while simultaneously improving the phone battery’s overall efficiency.
If you take your iOS games seriously enough to make it to the top of the Game Center Leaderboard, it can be annoying to see someone cheat their way past you with a Leaderboard hack. Previously, all developers could do about it was ask Apple to deal with the issue – but new features in iOS 7 make it possible for developers combat cheaters themselves. We previously told you about all these new anti-cheater features for developers, but today Apple reminds devs in an update that they now have the ability to delete fake scores and block known cheaters altogether.
You can now view and manage the top 100 scores and usernames for all of your Game Center leaderboards. Protect your legitimate players by signing in to iTunes Connect to delete fake scores or block players that post fake scores. You can also restore scores and players within the same time period.
iOS 7 introduced a number of new developer tools to help block Leaderboard spam, including the ability to set realistic maximum scores and reject unsigned submissions. This latest addition goes one step further in allowing developers to directly zap fake scores after the event. Apple this week added a description of exactly how developers can combat fraud on leaderboards in its developer documentation:
After you have apps available in the App Store or Mac App Store, iTunes Connect gives you access to 30 days of scores posted to your apps’ leaderboards. If you determine that players are able to generate fraudulent scores, you can remove these scores from a leaderboard or even block individual players from posting scores. You can manage active leaderboards as follows:
- View the top 100 scores for a given leaderboard or grouped game leaderboard.
- Delete a specific leaderboard score from a leaderboard.
- Restore a specific score to a leaderboard.
- Block a player from posting scores to a given leaderboard. This deletes all scores on the leaderboard for that player.
- Restore a player and the player’s most recent score posted before being blocked.
iTunes Connect maintains 30 days of leaderboard entries for your review: scores older than 30 days cannot be removed from a leaderboard; scores removed or players blocked cannot be restored more than 30 days after they are removed.
For instructions on how to do this, Apple refers developers to the Managing Game Center Leaderboard Activity section in the iTunes Connect Developer Guide.
Following its introduction earlier this month, Apple’s newest operating system has fallen under criticism and scrutiny from both designers and casual users alike. Due to both the tight development timetable and the new design direction under Jony Ive, following the removal of former iOS SVP Scott Forstall last fall, iOS 7 is, understandably, the most controversial and intriguing iOS version yet.
In response to much of the negative criticism directed towards iOS 7, some have suggested that iOS 7 will change substantially before it is released to the general public. Looking back at previous versions of iOS reveals a long trend of subtle refinements to the operating system during beta periods, not dramatic changes. Let’s take a look at how each version of iOS has transformed:
We already know that Apple has added support for game controllers in iOS7, but it appears that these plans are further along than first thought. According to Kotaku, the above image shows an early iOS gaming controller prototype made specifically for the iPhone 5 by gaming giant Logitech. While they weren’t forthcoming with details of where the device was seen or who showed it to them, Kotaku is standing firm that they believe this photo to be absolutely authentic. The decision to support integrated gaming accessories is in stark contrast to Steve Jobs’ stance that such products would ruin the “elegance” of Apple devices (even though he got his start at Atari).
A reader reached out with this image from one of Apple’s WWDC sessions, which appears to show the same Logitech controller.
Bluetooth gaming devices have existed for iOS devices for quite some time but most have had limited compatibility and fragmented compatibility. An integrated, Apple authorized (MFi) gaming controller is going to be a welcomed addition for the iOS gaming community.
3rd party gaming accessories like the iCade Mobile (Above) have existed for years
Apple is making some big improvements for gamers in the coming releases of iOS and OS X, and not just the new standardized gaming controllers we told you about previously. Not only is Apple introducing enhanced leaderboards, improved challenge modes, and new turn-based gaming features, it is also providing developers with tools to combat and prevent cheating.
Head below for details on everything Apple is doing in iOS 7 to improve the gaming experience…
After releasing 12D74 late last month, Apple released OS X 10.8.3 build 12D76 to developers today with no major changes. Apple isn’t listing any known issues, and the company once again asked developers to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari.
We’ll let you know if developers report any changes in today’s build. Full release notes below:
Update: As noted by MacRumors, build 12D76 appears to include support for NVIDIA’s Quadro K5000 graphics card that the company announced for the Mac Pro in September but is yet to ship. Yesterday we told you about the new Sapphire HD 7950 graphics card shown for the first time at CeBIT, while support for the AMD 7000 series was first discovered in a 10.8.3 beta back in November.
Apple has seeded a new release of OS X 10.8.3 to developers today with build number 12D68. Apple, once again, told developers to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari. The build comes one week after Apple released build 12D65 to developers on Feb. 6 with a fix for the “File:///” bug.
We’ll let you know if developers report any changes in today’s build. The full release notes are below. Thanks, Anonymous.
Apple just made OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 build 12D54 available to testers after releasing build 12D50 earlier this month on Jan. 8 with no known issues. Apple said the new build includes significant changes to Wi-Fi and listed the following focus areas for developers: AirPlay • AirPort • Game Center • Graphics Drivers • Safari.
Aspyr Media talks porting games to OS X, Mac App Store & the future of Mac gaming (+ Borderlands 2 giveaway!)
The introduction of the Mac App Store, at least for the Mac’s biggest game publisher Aspyr Media, hasn’t been entirely smooth. Aspyr recently outlined some issues with bringing multiplayer to Mac games due to Game Center and sandboxing restrictions of the Mac App Store, and developing separate versions of games for Steam and the Mac App Store continues to be a hurdle. An example is Borderlands 2. It took Aspyr just two months to ship the Mac version, but the Game Center multiplayer won’t arrive until sometime early this year. However, executives at the company promise Apple’s enthusiasm toward gaming on Mac is stronger than ever thanks to the Mac App Store. Aspyr also said it has much planned for 2013 in Apple’s store and remains platform agnostic, despite running its own competitive GameAgent store.
9to5Mac recently had the chance to speak with Aspyr Vice President of Publishing Elizabeth Howard, with input from CEO Michael Rogers and other execs, about the process of porting games to the Mac App Store, the company’s relationship with Apple and publishers, and the possibility of bringing iOS titles to OS X.
In case you’re unfamiliar, Aspyr is one of the biggest Mac game publishers bringing PC and console titles to OS X. It regularly leads many of the top paid and grossing charts on the Mac App Store thanks to high-profile releases such as Borderlands 2, RAGE, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and much more. Go below for the full interview and a chance to win Borderlands 2 for Mac.
After coming to Steam last month, Mac games publisher Aspyr has announced the Mac edition of 2k Games’ popular Borderlands 2 title is now officially available at the Mac App Store. Aspyr also made the game 25 percent off on the Mac App Store for the holidays at $44.99. Multiplayer and Game Center support won’t come until early 2013 in a free update, but exclusive to the Mac App Store version is: the new Fired Up skins, a unique head for each vault hunter, and “a Contraband Sky Rocket Grenade mod.”
Those who purchased the game on Steam will also get access to the Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage DLC on Mac today for $9.99:
Today is also a big day for Mac players who have already purchased Borderlands 2 from Steam or other fine outlets such as GameAgent.com. The newest Borderlands 2 DLC, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage comes to the Mac with tons of new content and challenges players to enter the Badass Crater of Badassitude! Mr. Torgue is priced at $9.99, supports Steam Play, and is included for purchasers of the Borderlands 2: Season Pass. Check out Aspyr.com for more details.
Shortly after releasing iOS 6.0.2 to the masses this afternoon, Apple seeded build 12D43 of OS X 10.8.3 to developers. The folks in Cupertino have not listed any new features or known issues, but they asked developers to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers, and Safari. The last pre-release build was released on Dec. 5. You can check today’s release out on the developer center, while the full release note is below:
After a particularly long outage today, Apple says it has restored access to both iMessage and FaceTime.
9to5Mac readers first started alerting us today around 3:30PM ET. The outage lasted around four hours and was up and down for some users.
This outage was the latest in a long string of problems for Apple’s iMessages platform which seems to go down on a weekly basis.
Game Center’s shining light, known as Letterpress, which is a free word game created by Tweetie founder Loren Britcher, has been updated to version 1.1 this evening. The popular Words With Friends competitor now features a prominent ‘Rematch!’ button that allows you to quickly fire up another game with the opponent you just lost to. Additionally, Britcher and his company have added new words to the game’s dictionary, a slew of bug fixes, and a lot more in tonight’s update, as seen below. Haven’t tried Letterpress yet? It’s available free on the App Store.
Carmageddon: Thanks to a Kickstarter project, Carmageddon makes its return today as a universal iOS app with iPhone 5 support and most of the features of the original Mac and PC title. In case you’re unfamiliar, the game was banned in many countries for its gory vehicular combat gameplay (by 1997 standards anyway). The game clearly still has a cult following and the iOS version comes with a few enhancements over the original including Game Center support, leaderboards, and customizable controls. Carmageddon is free today only to celebrate the launch and will soon increase to $2.
Steam version 1.1.0: With the latest update to Steam’s iOS app we finally get native iPhone 5 support. However, the biggest addition is the announcement all Steam account users worldwide can now access the app. Also included in version 1.1.0 is support for 25 new languages and a few fixes:
* Access via the Steam mobile app is now available to all Steam account holders
* Native support for iPhone5
* Increased robustness of Chat in unreliable network conditions
* Fixed issues with global menu rendering, notably the inability to select “Settings” after device rotation
* Support for 25 langauges
* Improved general stability
Fring version 6.0: The popular Fring messaging, calling, and video calling app gets an improved UI, better fringOut rates, iOS 6 support and 4-way group calls:
* Phone number only registration (no username/password login)
* Improved look and feel
* Even better fringOut rates
* Group calls with up to 4 users
* Improved security
* iOS 6 compatible
Sonic Jump: SEGA is releasing a new Doodle Jump-style Sonic title today. The game features familiar Sonic stages and characters, boss battles, and other elements of Sonic games, but switches to an all vertical gameplay style made popular on iOS by Doodle Jump. It’s already available in New Zealand and will hit all App Stores by midnight tonight.
Checkmark 1.1: We recently had good things to say about this new take on Apple’s Reminders app in our review. Today it gets a number of new features including recurring and snooze reminders, map improvements, and iOS 6/iPhone 5 support:
• Recurring reminders (NEW FEATURE)
• Snooze reminders (NEW FEATURE)
• Support for iOS 6 and iPhone 5
• Map improvements (Satellite/Hybrid views, Drop a pin anywhere)
• Improved radius control for locations (larger radius options, new slider UI to choose radius)