Apple's Game Center hits 67M users, new version hits Oct. 12 in iOS 5

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Apple Game CenterMark your calendars, proud iPhone owners. Apple announced today at its iPhone 4S event that the next version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5, will launch Oct. 12 as a free update. And with it comes a brand new Game Center, Apple's answer to existing mobile social game networks like OpenFeint and Mobage (and before that, Ngmoco's Plus network). You see, the company has been dragging its feet somewhat into the mobile social games space.

Regardless, the existing version of Game Center has welcomes 67 million able-thumbed mobile gamers, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event. (OpenFeint boasts 115 million users for comparison.) The service will be vastly improved next week with achievements, the ability to find new friends to play with and customizable profiles.

These features have been a part of Game Center's mobile competitors for some time, but despite being a latecomer, the service has managed to garner tens of millions of players. When Apple first revealed Game Center, it was already behind these independent services that have gone on to become, or rather be acquired by, major gaming companies.

Game Center, even with the advantage of being baked directly into iOS rather than individual games like Openfeint, has lots of work to do before it will trump its competitors. It proves that even if the iPod Touch is "the most popular portable game player in the world," according to Cook, it's still not the most popular social mobile game player in the world. That's gonna' take some time.

[Via Gamasutra, Gdgt]

Do you think Apple's Game Center could ever catch up to OpenFeint or even Mobage in the mobile social game space? What do you think the company needs to do in order to make that happen? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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