苹果在两个月前推出了Game Center游戏平台，为iOS游戏玩家提供了统一的好友列表，游戏经验值，以及无需通过第三方应用（比如说OpenFinet或Plus+）就能与其他玩家联系的功能，它在许多方面其实是微软Xbox Live功能的翻版，Xbox Live已被视为成功的社交游戏平台范本。
但Game Center革命尚未成功，仍有许多需要努力改进的空间。虽然它在功能上已实现了预期效果，但在玩家圈子中的影响力仍未形成气候。一部分是因为硬件技术局限性（它只能在iPhone 3GS以及更新的iOS平台上运行），但不可否认的是，它的设计本身也存在不足。以下是Game Center向更强大、更成功的社交游戏平台转型所需加强的几个方面：
随机找到一些玩家，将他们添加到Game Center好友列表中非常容易，去热门iPhone论坛把自己的用户名贴在上面，就可以收到无数邀请信息。但要添加现实生活中的朋友就有点费劲了，因为Game Center谢绝与其他联系人数据库相连接，Facebook Conncect、iPhone通讯录之类联系列表统统靠边站。这一点非常遗憾，因为用户和自己认识的熟人玩游戏，远比和随机找到的玩家战斗有趣得多。
反观微软，他们在Xbox Live上这一点上就做得非常好，你可以导入Facebook找到在线的好友，看看他们正在做什么，然后邀请愿意玩游戏的人和你共同参与。其实苹果也可以从中取经，让Game Center的好友列表功能更加完善，更有意义。
不过微软Xbox Live也并非十全十美，它不支持用户为好友设置标签。如果你的好友列表人数众多，就很难记住某个标签的具体归属对象。Game Center也一样，而且它的好友列表还更长。为何不让玩家在标签上注明好友的真实姓名呢？而且这些姓名也不会公开，只会在用户端的平台上显示，这种做法可以方便用户将现实好友与随机玩家区别开来。
以上建议的作用相对有限，现在这个建议显然更为关键。如果Game Center也推出一个专门网站，方便用户进行成就列表分类、添加好友、发送挑战邀请、浏览搜索新游戏等，这样岂不更好？微软的Xbox.com是与Xbox Live帐号相关的一站式服务中心，Valve推出的Steam平台也提供了类似功能。现在Game Center唯一的服务中心就是用户手机上的Game Center应用，它并不是搜索信息的最佳渠道。
虽然上述建议对Game Center打造富有影响力的社交游戏平台都有一定帮助，但提供质量过硬的游戏才是最大王牌。目前，Game Center仅提供少量的可供玩家相互对决的游戏，未来应该还会再供应更多具有类似功能的作品。
今年底苹果将发布iOS 4.0版本，支持在iPad上运行Game Center。希望这个升级版本还会向更多苹果平台扩展，届时Gamer Center的功能将更加丰富，界面设计也同时得到改观，说不定以上建议也有可能在新版本中实现呢。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译）
Five Ways For Apple To Improve Game Center
Two months ago, Apple launched Game Center on iOS devices. The service is basically a gaming platform, allowing people to have a unified friends list, collection of achievements and a way to connect to other players without using 3rd party apps like OpenFeint or Plus+. In a lot of ways, it mimics Xbox Live, which has become the model of a successful social gaming platform.
But Game Center still has a ways to go. Although it managed to meet expectations in terms of functionality, it hasn’t become as universally popular with gamers as one would expect. Some of this is due to technical limitations (Game Center only works on iPhone 3GS or newer devices), but some of this is simply due to design. Here are a few ways for Apple to make Game Center a more powerful and successful social gaming platform.
Achievements vs. Achievement Points
Game Center is strange in that it places a big focus on the total number of achievements you’ve earned, but not on your achievement score. See, each achievement you earn has points associated with it, but you’d probably never know that unless you dug all the way into that game’s list of achievements and saw how many points you’ve earned.
Why not bubble up your achievement score to your main user page? After all, people like big numbers, and seeing that you have an achievement score of 1,400 instead of just seeing you’ve unlocked 32 achievements is way more satisfying. It’ll encourage more people to go for more challenging achievements, rather than just rack up their number of dozens of really easy ones.
Achievement Scores On Your Friends List
Currently, when browsing your Game Center friends list, all you get are a list of user names with your friends’ personal motto and the game they played last.
Imagine if, in addition to that basic data, the list also showed your friends’ number of achievements or their total achievement score. Suddenly those points you’ve been earning can easily be compared to the friends on your list, and once you start comparing, they earn a sense of worth.
It also encourages you to browse friends’ profiles. “Woah, Bill has 32 achievements and 1,400 achievement points? How is that possible?” So you hop in and scroll through his list of played games and notice that he hasn’t stopped playing “Farmville” for three years. Or that he earned a ton of achievements in a game that you’ve never even heard of, giving you a reason to check out that game.
Currently the only way to see a player’s achievement progress is to dig directly into their profile. Showing it right there on the friends list page would make a big difference.
Finding Your Friends
Finding random friends to pad your Game Center friends list is easy. Go to a popular iPhone gaming forum, post your user name, and watch the invites flood in. But finding your real world friends is trickier, as there’s no way for Game Center to connect to your contacts database. No Facebook Connect, no connecting to your iPhone phone book, nothing of the sort. It’s a shame, because it’s way more fun to play with people you know than randoms you don’t.
Microsoft handled this well on Xbox Live. You could opt-in to Facebook to find Live friends and have the service see which of your friends did the same thing, thus bringing two willing parties together. Seems like Apple could do the same thing and make everyone’s Game Center friends lists a lot more meaningful.
Labeling Your Friends
Something that Microsoft hasn’t done is given players the ability to label their friends lists on Xbox Live. If you have dozens of friends, it’s sometimes tricky to remember which gamertag belongs to which person. Ditto on Game Center, where your friends list can be even larger. So why not allow players to label their friends with their real names? It wouldn’t be public, the labels would just live on the user’s iDevice, but it would do wonders to sort out which of your friends list is made up of real friends and which are just random forum-dwellers.
An Online Game Center Hub
The above suggestions are relatively low-impact. This final suggestion is obviously much more involved, but imagine if there was a Game Center website which allowed you to sort through achievement lists, add friends, send challenges and browse new games. Basically Xbox.com, which is a one-stop hub for anything related to your Xbox Live account. Valve’s Steam offers similar functionality, as well. Currently the only hub that exists for Game Center is the Game Center app on your device, and it’s not terribly easy to mine for information.
In The End, It’s About The Games
Although the above suggestions would help to make Game Center a more compelling social gaming product, it really comes down to providing quality games. At present, there are only a handful of games which allow players to compete directly with one another over Game Center, beyond just comparing high scores. Ideally more games will provide this sort of functionality in the future.
Later this year will bring the release of iOS 4.2, which will support Game Center for iPad. Hopefully the update is farther reaching than just a new platform and that we’ll see increased versatility and an improved interface Game Center, perhaps incorporating some of the ideas above.（source:multiplayerblog）