Should Game Center and Ping have been one unified social network?

Instead of introducing two new, separate social networks with Game Center for gaming and Ping for music, should Apple instead have combined them into one unified social network for users?

Keeping them separate means people who may be interested in gaming but not music or vice versa get only the content and interaction they want, and Apple can fine tune both separately, each to better suit its own focus. Combining them together would mean Apple users only have one place to go to get everything related to their iOS (or Mac) experience.

Would Facebook be better if it was split into several distinct category sites? Would Twitter? Is Apple better able to compete with those unified, generic platforms by specializing and being distinct?

Many people cringe at the idea of even one more social network to join, how do you feel about two?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Best of Smartphone Experts, 5 Sept 2010

Next up →

iPod touch 4 beginning to ship

Reader comments

Should Game Center and Ping have been one unified social network?


As often as we change what we do and how we feel about things, combining the two would have made sense. Being able to ignore the content you're currently not interested in should be easy - far easier than having to swap back and forth between the two.
Then again, I'm still not convinced that there is any use for Ping that isn't already realized (better?) by half a dozen other networks.

Maybe? Maybe not, I have zero interest in Ping, but I do in Gamecentre so that's a win for me.
However, if ping had the ability to follow app developers as well, that would've been great. as it is i follow several devs on twitter, so I know when they've updated apps i might be thinking of buying etc etc. But not all devs are on Twitter, okay so maybe they wouldn't use Ping either, but I imagine it would be way easier to connect with their customers so they probably would be on it.
My biggest problem with Ping is that it doesn't integrate with any of my existing social networks. Ping needs the 'Allow Twitter to post to your wall?' sort of functionality. 'Alex just bought Blow Up by Gooseflesh (via @Ping)' that sort of thing.

I don't care about either of them. Unless you use iOS they are useless, and though some of my friends do, most don't.
Apple needs to spend time fixing the stuff that needs to be fixed and improved on, and stop trying to be everyone else. They are never, ever going to come up with anything better than Facebook, so stop spending time with garbage like this. I love how they are running around about the 1m users - yup, everyone updated their iOS and lots of people said "sure, new feature, I'll try it" but I wonder how many of them are using it still even just days later.

With the changes coming to the Apple Discussion Forums (, I would think it would be cool to have it all set up to work together as one large Apple-centric social network. One log in, one account, access the parts you want, but not the parts you don't. Love music, but not into gaming? Opt into Ping, but leave GameCenter alone. Or the other way around, or all, or none. All users could have access to the support forums for help from their Apple-loving peers. Hm, an Apple-centric version of Facebook? I like that idea! ;)

Social networks by their very nature have become far too tedious for me. Too many, they all do basically the same things, and frankly, who cares.
I would like to see something that moves this medium to a new level, especially if it's going to come from Apple. Not this 'me too' crap that they've rolled out.
What a disappointment.

No because my Ping account was disabled. Then I wouldn't have Gamecenter.
My account was disabled for impersonating Steve Jobs. I should have read the TOS. :p

Game Center and Ping should have been combined into zero unified social network. They're both a waste of time and space. As others have said, it's a pathetic "me too" move and there are better (less narrow and more inclusive) social networks already well established. They should put more effort into cloud services and syncing, that's where they need to catch up, not social networking.

Zero interest in either. There's third parties that are better that combine platforms. Facebook is one. Or Openfeint
What Apple has done is pathetic. Ping (or iAds for music) especially is a blatant sales tool for itunes media pretending to be a social network on a buggy/laggy itunes.
Apple should pay attention to Palm or even the cydia store. These are the features people want. Not this walled garden social junk.

Apple just keeps adding to a series of gaffes they've been making..a lot of it straight from Jobs. Antenna gate. Ping. The disappearing facebook integration. White iphone. ipod touch photoshop issues. Apple TV.

I'm pretty sure the reason for separate platforms is due to the fact that you have to have an apple ID connected to iTunes to use ping. I'm not sure about GameCenter, but I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be with my kid having open access to iTunes.
I will agree with previous posts, apple is trying to be all things to all people. I'd prefer they invest their time and money to continue to enhance their products. iOS still has shortcomings and other products sure could use a boost as well.
I love apple, but I love them for what they do best and to meet that's more hardware and software, not social networking. maybe I will change my mind later.

@cardfan - "Apple just keeps adding to a series of gaffes they’ve been making..."
Hey, if everything's under control, you're just not going fast enough.

Don't really care about either Ping or Game Center, but I think it makes sense to keep them separate for now. What Apple does is test technologies by starting with small projects, then expanding on the successful ones and abandoning the unsuccessful ones. An example of a successful project is selling those original 2006 iPod click wheel games through iTunes. That evolved into today's App Store. An example of an unsuccessful project is the iPod Hi-Fi. Ultimately, Ping and Game Center could be merged into some future Apple social network if they do well.

I know this can be genuinely boring and you are skipping for the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks - you cleared up some things for me!