Gaming on iOS rocks. The App Store shelves are filled with excellent game titles. One way to improve any game experience is to invite a friend to play or challenge someone new. That’s the focus of Game Center, which puts the social in gaming on iOS. Here’s how to setup Game Center on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Updated: February 18th, 2015

How to setup Gamecenter on iPhone

Setup Game Center Account

To use Game Center, you’ll need an Apple ID and password. In most cases, if you setup your iPhone, you already have one. Your Apple ID can be found in Settings > iTunes & App Stores > Apple ID > View Apple ID. If you are a parent who wants to setup a new account for their child, you can create a new Apple ID  here or within the Game Center app.

Armed with your Apple ID, open Game Center and enter your username and password.

Adding a photo

Tap on Add Photo or click on the blank charicature that fills the polaroid picture at the top right. Your iOS device will advise you that your photo will be shared with all other Game Center players after it is processed. Note that it means all players and not just your friends. You’ll have the choice between taking a new photo or selecting a photo from your library. After selection, you can move and scale to get the perfect picture. Press ‘Choose’ to save.

Take, choose photo

Friends

If you tap on the Friends tab, you’ll see a list of gamers. The list consists of two groups. At the top, Apple provides recommendations based upon friends and games in common. This is a great way to find new friends with similar gaming interests. Tap on any user reveals an option to ‘Send Friend Request‘. You can add a special message or use the default message that you would like to be their friend. The invitee will receive a notification and upon acceptance, they’ll now be listed among your friends. The requests tab allows you to manage your incoming invites.

Friends

Tip: If you tap on Friends > Show All Recommendations > Scroll to bottom, you’ll have an option to ‘Use My Contacts’.

Friend recommendations

When you view a friend, you see a listing of games, achievement points and their friends. You can click through friends of friends and send invites.

How To Challenge A Friend

Probably the biggest reason for taking part in Game Center is to challenge a friend. Here’s how it’s done.

Send challenge

  1. Select any of the ‘Games In Common’
  2. Tap on Achievements
  3. Tap on an achievement that has not been completed
  4. Select ‘Send Challenge’
  5. Type in a custom message if you’d like and then send it off

On the other side, your friend will receive a notification of your challenge. At any time, you can review challenges you have received by selecting the ‘Challenges’ tab.

Explore New Apps

The main focus of Game Center is to find common games and compete against your friends. One great side benefit of Game Center is game discovery. Let’s say you have a friend and you share a good number of games in common. Well, just below you will find games they also own. You can tap on the price (even if it’s free) to jump to the purchase page in the App Store.

Gaming on iOS does not appear to be slowing down, often occupying the top of the charts for both paid and free apps. With Game Center, it’s easy to find friends, send invites and create challenges for both parties to enjoy. It brings a social element to your gaming experience, available to you at no additional charge. Furthermore, it’s a great way to discover new apps. Whether you fall into the serious or casual gamer category, setting up a Game Center account is an easy and fun way to highten your iOS gaming experience. When you do, be sure to invite me – ChrisM.