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The Game Center is supposed to be a social gaming mechanism, where players can challenge friends, compare scores, play together and so on. Just like XBox live on a mobile device.

But an essential part of XBox-live is audio chat. You want to be able to talk to your friends while playing.

Apple will either offer this as a feature of GameCenter or they will not.

If they do not - it will suck. It is simply not very social to play a game without audio chat.
If they do - that means Apple is effectively offering iPhone users free iPhone to iPhone VoIP calling. Built right into the phone.

If they do that they will irritate carriers - who like to think they are selling something of value when we get "minutes"

I wonder which it is going to be?