It's official: Apple (APPL) considers the upcoming Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Mobile 7 a threat. Look no further than today's Apple announcement of Game Center, an interactive online community hosted by Apple itself. The Game Center blueprint is XBox Live -- and Apple, by releasing it next week, hopes to create mobile XBox Live before Microsoft itself.
Apple's inspiration from Microsoft's XBox Live and, to a lesser extent, Sony's (SNE) PlayStation Network is obvious from Steve Jobs' slideshow this morning:
- Multi-player games
- Challenge friends
- Auto matching
- Compare scores
- Discover new games
The big addition here, however, is achievements, which are points given when a gamer reaches a certain goal, like saving the princess on the hardest difficulty level or beating the game without losing a life. Microsoft gamers have literally spent years building up their total achievements score, which is why Microsoft integrating the XBox Live point system onto Windows Mobile 7 games is so crucial.
The problem is that Windows Mobile 7 won't be available until later this year, and gamers will have months to rack up points after they get their hands on Apple's GameCenter by next weekend.
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