Apple amends iOS Game Center to use real names in invites

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has updated its Game Center terms of service to note that gaming invites sent to friends will include the "real" name users have associated with their Apple ID, sparking a minor controversy among gamers while further aligning Apple's iOS as a family friendly platform more like Nintendo's Wii and less like the Xbox 360.



iPhone and iPad games that support Game Center typically connect to your account automatically at launch to enable features such as multiplayer support, high score leaderboards, and the ability to invite friends to play with you.



However, yesterday Apple issued an update that prompts users to first agree to the new ToS, which includes the comment, "we have changed the Game Center terms and conditions to provide you notice that if you send a friend invitation, the full name associated with your Apple ID will be shared with the recipient. If you accept a friend invitation, the full name associated with your Apple ID will be shared with the sender."



Good for casuals, bad for the serious



For the casual games and game players Apple has attracted to its platform, the change will likely be a positive one, as it enables invited players to actually see who is inviting them to play, rather than only showing that person's selected gamer identity, which might likely be cryptic and unfamiliar to the recipient being invited.



However, some self styled "serious gamers" are taking issue with the change, complaining that--at least in the hard core gamer community represented in circles such as "World of Warcraft" or Xbox Live--gamers take their anonymity seriously and don't want to be "outed" in their game invites with gaming friends, who may only be friends in the gaming world.



Some female players, for example, choose to hide their gender to avoid being treated differently by the predominantly young male players typically found in serious gaming circles. Other players may hide their identity in online games to avoid being called out for playing at work by their supervisors.



Of course, users who are afraid of revealing their identity within Game Center at all (or for that matter iTunes reviews or Apple's Ping social network) can change the real name associated with their Apple ID to an alias, or create a secondary Apple ID exclusively for use with Game Center.







Apple brands iOS a family friendly platform



Whether Apple's family-friendly iOS platform will actually suffer any actual repercussions from the change seems unlikely. Users continue to appear in public high score leaderboards only under their chosen gamer identity; real names are only exchanged in gaming invites between friends.



However, the move does align Apple more firmly into the casual gamer community, and harmonizes with the company's decision to bar extreme graphical violence, crude language, and even rather tame sexual content. In that respect, Apple is aiming to deliver a platform more like that of kid-friendly Nintendo, and less like Microsoft's Xbox 360, where violence and sexuality are used to attract the teenage male demographic of "hard core gamers."



Interestingly, Microsoft has followed Apple's lead toward family-friendly software aimed at the mainstream with its new Windows Phone 7. Developers such as Justin James have already started to complain that Microsoft's "application guidelines are almost as bad as Apple?s. The number of things that are forbidden is quite large,"



James, the same WP7 developer who reported that Microsoft wasn't revealing software app sales and was holding up developer payments till February 2011, noted that despite Microsoft's efforts to "leverage the skills of Xbox and other XNA developers," its Apple-like rules on acceptable content "undermines the positioning of the [WP7] phone as a consumer device," because "the guidelines prohibit many of the things that are quite common in video games. For example, much of the gore that has been commonplace in games is prohibited, as is excessive use of explicit language and content of a sexual nature."



Gamers vs families



Apple's decision to avoid controversial content in the iOS App Store does not seem to be causing it any problems outside of criticism from ideologues fretting about the company's censorship. Apple has resisted bending to such criticism, with company chief executive Steve Jobs describing the iPhone as having two available platforms, one, the App Store curated by Apple, and the other, the entirely free and open web accessible via the browser.



Some observers have criticized Apple's highbrow stance by suggesting that platform supremacy has often paralleled access to pornography, citing the war between Sony's BetaMax and JVC's copycat, but less restrictive, VHS format.



Nintendo itself lost ground dramatically in the sixth generation of game consoles, when its GameCube fell behind Sony's PlayStation 2, arguably in large part because it failed to attract buyers outside of the very young demographic and lacked first person shooter titles such as "Grand Theft Auto," a controversial title involving sexualized content and graphic violence.



At the same time, there are even more examples of failed software platforms that offered little restrictions on content. The Atari 2600 enabled a glut of video games including titles purporting to be violent and pornographic, but a lack of curation over content and particularly quality control spelled its demise. Nintendo introduced what is perhaps the first attempt to regulate a platform's software, and has been successful across more generations of games consoles than any other company.



Nintendo's Wii is a particular stand out success, given that it has kept up and often surpassed unit sales (and certainly the profits) of much more sophisticated consoles from Sony and Microsoft, largely due to its focus on all-ages, family friendly titles as opposed to graphically intense, boundary-pushing single player games, which are often intended to be played with other remote players the gamer does not necessarily even know.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Simple work around:



    Don't use a real name for a new apple ID and get iTunes gift cards to buy games and apps.



    Problem solved.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Blizzard already tried this and the backlash was very loud. Enough that they completely rescinded the change. Apple should take the same cue.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kaipher View Post


    Blizzard already tried this and the backlash was very loud. Enough that they completely rescinded the change. Apple should take the same cue.



    Yes, Apple will rescind this soon, and the author will look premature in his defence. It's just not safe to use your real name online.



    As for creating a separate Apple ID, how many of Apple's systems assume you're using the same ID everywhere?
  • Reply 4 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kaipher View Post


    Blizzard already tried this and the backlash was very loud. Enough that they completely rescinded the change. Apple should take the same cue.



    Blizzard is mainly for the "hard core" gamers.



    Personally, I don't care if they know or not, think of this like Facebook games where everyone knows what you play. I think there's more people that will welcome the change as opposed to those who don't. I can't see Apple backing down on this one.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    I just hope Apple believes me... my real name *is* Chuckles Blumpkin.
  • Reply 6 of 31
    Interesting dilemma. I've noticed the problem. I get a lot of invites and I wind up declining basically every one of them because I don't recognize them. When I've added a friend I'll have to do so with communication in advance so I actually recognize the name coming in. This all probably lands me quite completely in the casual gamer are of this discussion.



    Perhaps an appropriate middle ground is an abbreviated name?



    L33TFuxZoR27 (Jimmy D.)
  • Reply 7 of 31
    I dont see a problem with this at all.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    Good, hopefully this will encourage others to follow suit, the internet is a very shady place with a lot of shady people, hopefully facebook was only the start of a much larger movement towards real name usage across the web.



    Edit; and for those of you that think it is unsafe for people to use their real names online, well, sunshine is the best disinfectant, I say Apple should lead the way towards making the web a much more open and safe place for all of us.
  • Reply 9 of 31
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,270member
    Um, my friends already know my "real" name.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zindako View Post


    I dont see a problem with this at all.



    I personally do not have a problem with it but as the article clearly reads many people will have a problem with it. Many people will not use Ping because of this.



    I know it's not a perfect example, but would if ai made us all use our real names? How many of you would stay on and feel just as comfortable speaking the way you do?



    Again, this is not a great example but is worth thinking about.
  • Reply 11 of 31
    I guess if you don't want people to know you real name then don't try to be there friend. This can be like the real world in that way.



    The more I think about it, the more I think this is a good thing. There are enough wackos using the internet to prey on kids and such that this might deter some slightly.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bcahill009 View Post


    I guess if you don't want people to know you real name then don't try to be there friend. This can be like the real world in that way.



    The more I think about it, the more I think this is a good thing. There are enough wackos using the internet to prey on kids and such that this might deter some slightly.



    The internet should be like the real world in just about every respect, in fact the internet IS the real world, or at least an extension of it, you shouldn't be able to troll around with one identity online and a completely different one in the physical realm.
  • Reply 13 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kaipher View Post


    Blizzard already tried this and the backlash was very loud. Enough that they completely rescinded the change. Apple should take the same cue.



    They did make it optional, but as a function of finding friends across all of their games over b.net, it's much easier to add the RealID names to your list, which shows their full names.



    In other words, the option is there now, but the versatility of using the RealID system outweighs the paranoia people have/had about using full names.



    I see the Apple name usage being a non-issue.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    rokradrokrad Posts: 143member
    Oh please... Since when is gore and language not allowed on the app store? I think you just assumed cause there is definatelly plenty of those type of apps going around.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,271member
    The problem for me is that the Apple ID can be used for visa card information, Apple store access, app store access, app store sales reports, support forums, ping access... and casual game networks... and mobile me as well? Is there more?



    Makes me nervous.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    non-issue for me
  • Reply 17 of 31
    ifailifail Posts: 463member
    I dont see how this is in any way shape or form a positive. If you add random strangers to your friends list and prefer for your own personal name to be out there for them, thats your prerogative but the option should be given to the user to disallow it.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    I was against Blizzard's sharing of real names in their RealID service, primarily because the dubious "Friend of a Friend" feature was really poor conceived from a privacy standpoint. That can now be turned off, but it took some major complaining from the user base to make it happen.



    It may be no big deal to many readers, but I know I generally don't want my real name out there in the open because it may affect my career. When you're dealing with a predominantly teenage male population, you're also dealing with unpredictability and potential dangers to females, minors, and other casual Internet users. Do you want your 7 year old daughter's name known to a stranger? It goes against everything we are teaching our kids in schools to do to be safe online.



    I do understand what their vision is, which is bring some accountability to Internet behavior. I just don't think they realize the potential dangers of complete transparency.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    I love the line about serious gamers, like seriously missing a social life and the social skills that are needed. I know people love to play games but when you consider yourself a "serious gamer" that means game over!
  • Reply 20 of 31
    "TO AGREE, CLICK AGREE"



    click?



    not tap?
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