Following the release of iOS 10, many of our game-loving readers noticed that Game Center app is no longer available. And some of us are really upset by this change. We really liked checking Leaderboards and seeing our friends’ stats across all our games. The Game Center app provided great encouragement to revisit and replay games, especially when someone beat out our highest score(s.)
Yes, it’s true. Game Center is no longer a stand alone app. But even though the app is gone, Game Center settings remain available in the Settings app in iOS 10. And Game Center is still part of Restrictions and even includes a new option for screen recording. It’s also a part of watchOS 3! So Game Center is alive and well–just no longer an app for your home screen.
Game Center is Now a Service
So what this means for you is that while the app is gone, its functionality is still there. Think of Game Center as a service rather than an app. So for all gamers out there, your Game Center Service continues to track your best score(s) on a leaderboard, compare your achievements, invite your friends to play, or even start a multiplayer game through auto-matching. And you still receive notifications from Game Center, provided Notifications for Games is set to ON (Settings>Notifications>Games.)
Now everything that the Game Center app did is available directly in your game’s individual app. Check leaderboards, your achievements, view challenges, send challenges, and see your turns–all inside the game app itself.
If you want to manage your Game Center account, you do that in Settings. If you want to manage your friends, you also do that in Settings. And to browse games, look on your Home Screen or visit the App Store.
Gaming Via Messages
Adding friends and inviting them to games is now handled by the individual game apps using iOS 10’s expanded Messages app. So starting in iOS 10, within your game app you send a message to anyone in your Contacts and are immediately able to play a game with them. These messages are sent to your contacts as Game Center notifications.
Invitations are sent to players from your contacts, to recent players seen online, and even nearby players on a local network playing the same game. Players with legacy Game Center accounts also receive notifications from iMessages invites.
Or send a rich attachment link to the game through the app store’s share button. The invitation is sent as an attachment in iMessage to another iPhone or iDevice user.
One caveat is that everyone must have an apple ID and an iCloud account to work.
Playing inside of Messages
With iOS 10, we get to play games inside of Messages by downloading within iMessage itself. How cool is that?
Browse iMessage-compatible games
Just visit Apple’s iMessage App Store within iMessage
- Tap the App Store icon within iMessage–it looks like the letter A
- Tap the menu button in the bottom left corner of the screen–looks like 4 circles
- Tap the Big Plus Sign (+) named “Store”
- Search for Turn-Based Games you like and download
- Once downloaded, send challenges to friends within iMessage to start a game
- If friends don’t have the game installed, they receive a message to install
- Let the game fun begin! Each person takes a turn playing–one by one
While playing an iMessage game, you are able to continue chatting and messaging with others as normal. And having multiple active games in a single conversation or in multiple conversations is also possible. So play a bunch of different games with as many friends and family members as you want–all at the same time!
iOS Gaming is Multi-Player Magic!
iOS 10 is optimized for amazing multiplayer gaming experiences. A single game session now holds up to 100 players, along with smaller sessions of one, two, four, twelve, and so forth up to the 100 player maximum. You’re also able to set-up multiple players into teams!
Because Game Center is now specific to individual game apps and iMessage-based, you invite and play with anyone that you message for a true multiplayer gaming experience.
It’s also easy to send messages to multiple players or between players. These messages appear as Game Center notifications. And players are able to send messages back and forth. Any player can send a message at any time, there are no restrictions.
All This Data!
Gaming on your iPhone or iPad is iCloud-based, so game data is shared and saved on each player’s iCloud account. This is what allows you to play with anyone with an iCloud account.
But all your game data comes at a price. Your game data is now stored in your iCloud account and it does count against your iCloud limit. So if you are a heavy gamer, you might need to upgrade your iCloud account to one of the larger plans. Remember that each iCloud account comes with 5GB of storage at no cost. However, your iCloud account is for everything–not just games.
If you experience challenges in playing games with your friends or getting invite or play messages back and forth. Here are a few tips that might just turn things around.
- Tap Settings > Game Center > Your Apple ID
- Tap on your Apple ID
- Tap Sign Out
- Then Sign back in
- Tap Settings>Game Center
- Ensure Game Invites>Nearby Players is ON
- Restart your iDevice by powering off and then back on
- Force restart your iDevice (iPhone or iPad) by pressing the Sleep/Wake (on/off) and Home buttons until you see the Apple logo
- Tap Settings > General > Date & Time and turn on Set Automatically
Playing games on your iOS iDevice is fun! And now we enjoy playing on our Apple watches too. Even though the Game Center app is gone, the support and features are not. So go ahead and challenge your friends, take a peek at leaderboards, and invite your friends, contacts, and even those nearby to play.
So send and receive Game Center invitations in Messages and tap on the link to take you directly into the game. And remember, if you don’t have that particular game installed, the link opens the game’s page in the App Store.
If you are experiencing other iOS 10 related issues, please take a look at our comprehensive iOS 10 troubleshooting guide.