Apple is giving the dedicated Game Center app the chop with iOS 10, so it’s up to games themselves to handle things like multiplayer invites and friend requests. However, they will get some support from the Messages app.
During a developer session at WWDC last week, Apple explained the changes it is making to the Game Center service with iOS 10, and how it plans to replace the dedicated app. It starts with new tools for game developers that allow them to take advantage of Messages.
All multiplayer game invites will be handled by Messages, and games will be able to take advantage of a new integrated Messages View Controller to make the experience as seamless as possible for users.
“Apple told developers that those already using existing Game Center invitation APIs won’t need to make any code changes for iOS 10,” explains AppleInsider. “Messages-based invites will automatically replace the old method of inviting friends to play.”
During the developer session, Apple demonstrated the new invite method using the game Doodle Jump. The invite was sent as a “rich link” attachment, and users are given the option to add their own comments to it before sending if they wish.
When the recipient taps on the link in iOS 10, they will be taken directly to the game if they have it installed, or redirected to the App Store if they don’t. Those using legacy Game Center accounts with older software will also receive the invite in Messages.
When sending an invite, you’ll have access to your entire contacts list, friends who were recently online, and nearby gamers on the same network playing the same title.