We knew Apple was serious about treating the iPhone and iPod Touch as gaming devices, but at its iPhone OS 4 event (liveblog here) it just dropped the gauntlet: Game Center. "Gaming is extremely popular on the iPhone and iPod touch. We have 50,000 games," Apple's Scott Forstall trumpeted. "Let's compare that to the competition ... the PSP and DS ... we blow them out of the water." While we're not going to start pointing out relative quality differences here, we will say that iPhone now has one very powerful differentiator that neither the PSP nor DS have: "a social gaming network."
Forstall unveiled Game Center, which he said will make "gaming even better on the iPhone." With matchmaking, game invites, leaderboards and achievements, this is pretty much a carbon copy of Xbox Live, but on your phone (Windows Phone 7, beat to the punch!). This is a "dev preview for OS 4," which will be available today for you devs out there. Everyone else, you've gotta wait until "summer."