Apple’s evil Game Center plan - Macenstein

Apple’s evil Game Center plan

When Apple first announced Game Center, my feelings ranged from indifferent to mildly supportive. The idea of having just ONE gaming account to manage vs the 3 or 4 major iOS social scoring systems seemed like a nice idea, although having already set up those 3 or 4 accounts, it never really bothered me. Still, being the good Apple soldier I hopped on the Game Center bandwagon, and all was well with the world. Until last week. That was the day I updated Angry Birds Holiday edition on my kids’ iPod touches, and learned of Apple’s secret plan.

Hmmm.. I don’t have an Apple ID for my kids, I guess I’ll hit CANCEL.

Great! Problem solved!

Relaunch the app an hour later. Hmm… I guess Angry Birds and I have a different idea of what “disabled” means.

That’s right. Game Center has now become the intrusive app most hard core (or privacy advocates) despise. Unlike previous social scoring systems like good ol’ Openfeint – where one prompt to “enable yes/no?” on launch was easily dismissed, never to return if you weren’t interested – Game Center asks you to create an account every time you launch the games. There does not appear to be any way to disable Game Center globally, and even on a per app basis it is very hit or miss.

So, why is this a big deal? Why don’t I just enable Game Center and shut up? Well, I did. On MY iPhone. But the kids’ iPod touches are a different matter. In order to get their iPods on Game Center, they EACH need a new Apple iTunes ID. That means I need to set up two new accounts, complete with my credit card info, for them. This also means, it will now become a pain to try to manage games, music and videos across these multiple devices.

Currently, I don’t mind paying for games for the kids, because I know I can put it not only on my iPhone, but my wife’s, the kids’ iPods, and my iPad. We all share my iTunes ID. However, in order to get these stupid prompts to disappear when my kids launch their games, Apple wants us to create 4 different Apple IDs, linking our games to different accounts.

Sure, there are lame work arounds, like signing in and out of each ID and signing in with mine when I want to purchase something on one of their devices, then signing back in with their’s to play games, but obviously that is less than ideal, and iTunes isn’t all that well designed for managing different user’s purchased media in one account. One suggestion I have heard is to create an iTunes allowance for the kids in order to get a Game Center ID. Apple “lets you” set up your kids with a recurring monthly charge to your credit card from $10-$50 a month, which you can put in your kids’ name. The problem is, this doesn’t solve the Game Center problem, as in order to give your kids the allowance, you need to give them their own Apple IDs. It doesn’t appear there is any way to link their account to yours so purchases under their iTunes ID allowance are still in YOUR name.

While things may change in the future, Game Center is currently an almost useless implementation of social gaming, offering no discernible advantages over the competition, and the fact remains it is the only social scoring system that requires a credit card to use, and which can’t be removed. Game Center is not about connecting with friends, it’s about getting more children to set up their own Apple IDs, thus creating their OWN media libraries, and driving more profit to Apple. Combined with the recent update which now shows your REAL name to anyone you attempt to friend, Game Center appears to be the worst solution for gaming for children, and for anyone who values their internet privacy.

If there’s any way around this, Apple isn’t making it easy to discover, and I’m stumped. If you’ve beaten the Game Center system, please let me know how in the comments.

33 Responses to “Apple’s evil Game Center plan”
  1. Steve says:

    Interesting I created Apple IDs for my kids and never had to enter a credit card for their accounts…

    when it lists the credit card types, Visa, Mastercard, etc the one on the far right is None you select that…. Your kids then of course won’t be able to purchase anything with their apple id unless of course the app is free…… which is what you want cause want them to be purchased on your apple id.

  2. Kenneth says:

    I take it that disabling the Game Center options under General/Restrictions doesn’t turn off the prompting?

  3. @Kenneth,
    Nope. Plus, even if it did, it still means now you can’t participate in online scoring and multi-play.

    – The Doc

  4. The persistent prompts occur because of the way the app was written, not because of any careless or defarious Game Center design. It is perfectly possible to add GC to an app without such annoyances.

  5. Ryan says:

    Get them their own accounts (free accounts that require no credit cards) so they can play with each other through game center. Buy them an iTunes gift card or gift them money if they ever wanna purchase a game. otherwise disable purchasing content on that device within parental controls is my other opinion, though I have never used parental controls across multiple devices so I don’t know how well it would work or effect your other devices.

  6. Griert says:

    Just make am Apple ID without creditcard like Steve said. Problem solved and your kids even have game center!

  7. bc says:

    but you CAN sign up for an iTunes account without using a credit card.

    you can select “None” as a payment method if you aren’t logged into an iTunes account then try to download a free app and are then asked to create a new account.

    for example, see:

  8. Blake says:

    Also it constantly bothers me about not being able to connect to GameCenter b/c of my crap AT&T signal at my house, and usually it pops up the notification right as I’m at an important point in my game….

  9. Robert says:

    Actually I just set up two iTunes accounts for kids using gift cards, you use the gift card number instead of a credit card.

  10. Tice says:

    You know what? All this restrictions from beginning with no provider choice to only apps from Apples App Store to ‘you have to jailbreak your phone to get what you originally wanted’ made one thing clear:

    My first and still only chopice not to buy one of those iOS restricted crap!

    Sorry, nice tech but really awful restrictions – just don#t buy it otherwise you provide it!

  11. Dave says:

    It never occurred to you that this is a bug? Unintended behavior that I’m not seeing and I have Angry Birds Seasons and no Game Center account.

  12. As a Fanboy myself, somehow I’m still amazed when I meet more loyal Apple fanboys than myself who casually act as though it is the most normal thing in the world for someone to have to run out to Best Buy or Target to pick up some iTunes gift cards and set up Apple IDs for kids to set up online scoring on their iPods, when every other online scoring system only asks for your e-mail address, IF that.

    – The Doc

  13. Joe says:

    I completely agree that this Game Center idea has been poorly executed. Personally, I don’t use or want Game Center, but I have to put up with the annoying sign in prompts every time I open one of my favorite game apps. There should definitely be a ‘Never ask again’ option when declining to sign in. Apple is getting worse and worse with controlling how people use their products and it is becoming frustrating quite quickly.

    • Chelsea says:

      Game center is completely useless and hopeless. If people don’t want game center then they shouldn’t have to put up with game center prompts to sign in. Theres no way to disable it.

  14. John says:

    i am so sick of these constant requests to log in to Game Center, with no way to turn them off for good. This is the first time I’ve considered Apple to be anything like Microsoft.

  15. Mark says:

    I am an iPod Touch fan, and although i sympathise with your situation; and i understand your frustration – I don’t see why the rest of the users commenting are having a spazz about the Game Centre. Who cares if it is a “paid scoring system” ?! It’s APPLE. It’s PREMIUM. You pay for what you get.

    Did anyone seem to consider that if your app (such as Angry Birds) is signed into Game Centre enabling, that the App developer gains a HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF PROFIT from that given to them by Apple – thus helping them afford more updates!!!!! Which in turn we all love =] Not to mention you can browse games by popularity all from the App Store!!

    —– Can anyone tell me of another scoring provider that lets you browse whilst running the App Store? none. There is JUST Game Centre. I would rather browse in the app store (without having to click links etc like the Open Fient app or FreeApp2Go) to be honest……

    1) Game Centre benefits both the consumer and the business
    2) Just effing pay for GC and stop being such a cheap ass (talking to the commenters NOT the parents here…)
    3) Parental Controls – They are there on the device for a reason
    4) I think the general idea is that you have a None box, but many people have said this.
    5) Using these “free” accounts, have you thought about using the amazing system called HOME SHARING….. problem solved .

    • James says:

      Game center sucks, takes up storage, is intrusive, and I have no use for it. How is this helping me as a consumer? And crapple is not premium. I had a Galaxy S5 before this Iphone 6plus. The S5 was very buggy, and I hated it. But now after using this piece of crap Iphone, I wish I had my Galaxy back. Ugh, never will buy a crapple again, period!

  16. Cy says:

    It’s making me nuts, too!
    Look, it’s just me – my boyfriend is not a gamer and I’m an avid one. I have no need to share my scores or play along with other folks. When I want to be social, I talk to people. The fact that the sign-in request pops up before so many games makes me nuts – especially for games like 100 Rogues where you die and begin a new game frequently. This has nothing to do with being cheap – it has to do with not being able to turn off an intrusive function that I do not currently want and most likely never will! AARGH!

  17. Ben says:

    Fuck Game Center and it’s stupid fucking Sign-in pops. that fuckin’ sign-in shit pisses me off every time i open an app and i also notice right before it pops up, it makes the game lag somewhat. What the Fuck is up with that shit! Fuck Game Center Seriously!

    • Minty says:

      You summed up my feelings precisely! Damn Game Center pops up while I’m playing a game and I have to start over. Not a global disaster mind you, but stupid to have to KEEP dealing with.

  18. Michael says:

    Game Center annoys the Hell out of me! I play one game mostly and it pops up one each time I open the game (or each time my phone screen turns off). I then have to wait for the slow popups and hit Cancel on one and OK on the next like you showed. Even more annoying is that sometimes it pops up two or even three times in a row right when I start the game.

    Please let me turn the freaking thing off.

  19. My daughter has her iPod touch as well. She just uses my apple id. That way she can download all of the stuff I download.

    I think OpenFeint should just be done away with. I cannot stand when an app has both game center and OpenFeint. They always seem to get in the way of one another. Why would a developer want to put both of them anyways? It just makes it more complicated for the less tech savvy people out there.

  20. gyro says:

    I agree- FK APPLE. What gives these Tards the right to think our kids need to give their real name to play? Ive had enough of Apple ..

  21. C says:

    After upgrading my son’s ipod touch, it was attached to my gamecenter account. I was confused when it asked for an apple id. I finally figured it out. If you put in the gamecenter id(nickname), where it says apple id, in gamecenter, and put in the associated password, the ipod attaches to that account for gamecenter. I didn’t have to set up a new apple id for my son, no credit card…etc. It only asked for name, birthdate, and click to send the agreement to a parent, when you initially set it up. I agree it’s confusing. I was panicking that I didn’t know how to connect his games back to his gamecenter.

  22. Rod says:

    Apparently if you cancel three times, it gets disabled permanently, though you can manually re-enable through the Game Center app. They’re not being evil, they’re trying to give you the option of trying the game right away if you don’t want to use Game Center without making it too difficult to enable afterwards.

    I also added Game Center accounts for my kids very easily. I don’t remember having to use a gift card or a credit card or anything. Not that it matters much though, because I have all purchasing disabled on their iPods through the restrictions settings.

    • jyhk says:

      i hit “cancel” more than one million times and it still pops out every single time i start the game.

    • 5T!Ngr says:

      Dead wrong. Hitting “Cancel” 3 times does NOT permanently disable GC. I have been hitting cancel since it was introduced, in every game I have

    • James says:

      Bs, It pops back up later. And the more I cancel 3 times and disable it, the more often it wants to pop back up. I WILL NEVER BUY A CRAPPLE AGAIN!!!

  23. it is not apple’s fault. developers can avoid initializing gamecenter at the game start.
    instead of that plan, they can initialize it when the user click on a button or something.

  24. Joe Deasy says:

    “Evil plans”?
    i-Parents should be concerned with much more than annoying pop-ups.

    What personal info do these “free” games collect?
    Contact data? Browsing history? Location history?

    What country is your children’s personaly identifiable data stored?
    China? Russia? Pakistan?

    “not Apple’s fault”
    Apple does’nt require answers to these basic questions.
    THAT is Apple’s fault.

  25. robert1234 says:

    Just allow people to disable it if they don’t like it and don’t want to use it. It’s that simple. I just assumed this would be possible when I enabled it and logged in. Make no mistake, it was a business decision by Apple to not allow you to disable the app, and Apple should be ashamed.

  26. Pissed off says:

    Now Game Centre logs back in whenever you enter your apple ID and password! So when you log in to download an update suddenly you are logged in to game centre. WTF Apple this is a joke

  27. Mr Mark says:

    I have recently bought an Ipad, and I find this crap game center to be VERY intrusive. I am already fed up of having to cancel the sign in for it, EVERY BLOODY TIME I log into an app.

    Whether it’s apps being written poorly, or the fact we can’t just DISABLE game center from IOS, it’s annoying, and I would rather hope someone does something the fuck about this, because it really puts me off.

    I gave up using apps on my phone long ago, because of annoying questions, and constant links to stores to update crap in the app, and whilst I expect many free apps to try the same tricks, I do not expect pointless crap like game center to be part of the annoyance, whether it’s Apple’s fault, the individual app-maker’s, or both their fault.

    The whole app thing is depressing enough as it is. It’s an excuse to put much less effort into programming games, and end up sneaking back more money than if you’d bought a console game, by getting you to keep paying seemingly little amounts that all add up.

    Rip us off if you want, be my guest, but please do not fuck us off with constant repetitive crap like ‘game centre’ requests everytime we load an app.

Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.