After years of considering removing Game Center from iOS, it appears Apple has decided to officially pull it as evidenced with today’s first iOS 10 beta. As this is a first beta, there is a possibility we could see the application’s return before this fall when iOS 10 is officially released to the public.

As stock apps have hit the App Store, and users can now delete most of them on iOS 10, it’s entirely possible Apple falls back to allowing Game Center as an App Store download. Personally, it will be nice to have one less app I no longer use on my home screen.

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Apple preemptively understood that the removal of Game Center may break some iOS apps implementations, and has done some work to help mitigate that. If an app does currently implement GameKit features, the developer must implement the interface behavior to show these features for iOS 10. Apple exemplifies this when bringing up the idea of showing leaderboards. Instead of jumping out into Game Center to show a leaderboard for users, the developer could implement the appropriate GameKit code and present the GameKit Game Center view controller, or just read the data to showcase a custom leaderboard interface.

GameKit

The GameKit framework (GameKit.framework) includes the following changes and enhancements:

  • The Game Center app has been removed. If your game implements GameKit features, it must also implement the interface behavior necessary for the user to see these features. For example, if your game supports leaderboards, it could present a GKGameCenterViewController object or read the data directly from Game Center to implement a custom user interface.

Take a look at Apple’s What’s New in iOS 10 release notes over at the Developer Center for a further breakdown of what changes have come in. I know from reading our past comments, many of our readers will be happy to see many of the stock apps and Game Center go.

Update June 14, 2016 7:33 AM PDT: It seems as though there is some confusion arising from the removal of the Game Center app. From what we could tell in iOS 10 beta 1’s documentation: while the Game Center application is gone, the functionality that came with it is not. As a commenter pointed out, watchOS 3 was listed as having Game Center support during yesterday’s keynote. This means that apps within watchOS 3 could natively support Game Center features like challenging friends and looking at leaderboards, but there most likely won’t be an Apple supplied central location for all of this.

We’ll continue to update as we find out more.

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