Back at the beginning of June, long before antenna problems became the talk of the town, we took a look at the iPhone 4 and debated what it meant for gaming. One big factor to consider before upgrading, we had said, was whether or not older devices would support the upcoming social gaming platform Apple Game Center. As it turns out, they won’t.
Apple rolled out iOS 4.1 beta 3 to developers earlier this week, and amongst the tweaks and changes was the removal of support for Apple Game Center from the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod Touch.
While unexpected, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. Many iPhone 3G owners cried foul after updating to iOS4 only to be left with sluggish performance. It’s not much of a stretch to assume that Game Center’s performance might have suffered the same struggles.
For services like OpenFeint and Plus+, this is like getting the 11:59 call from the governor that keeps the warden from throwing the switch. Gamers on older devices looking to engage in a social experience will still need somewhere to turn, giving these services that would otherwise have been hobbled an opportunity to be embraced by gamers.
Sure these companies have plans to integrate with Game Center in some fashion, but how long can it be until they’ve outlived their usefulness in a post-Game Center world? Thanks to this pulled support from older devices, the answer might be “a while.”
So to answer the question we posed back in June, “do you need to upgrade?,” if you care about Game Center and you’re sporting a phone older than last year’s 3GS, the answer looks to be a resounding yes.