Gaming has reached a new level thanks to online scoreboards made possible by Internet connectivity coming as a standard feature on modern consoles. A gamer's particular ranking can be seen by one and all for virtually every game available for the XBOX 360 with its XBOX Live service and the PS3 with the Playstation Network. Ten minutes spent white-knuckling the controller in front of Pac Man Championship Edition is not merely a bit of fun on the couch -- it's a chance to become the man in front of the entire gaming world. A great deal of richness is added to the gaming proposition by taking the scoreboard beyond the den and out onto the Internet. It seems this fact has not gone unrecognized by the folks in Cupertino.
A recent Apple patent application entitled "Media management system for management of games acquired from a media server" appears to indicate that online score tracking may be in the future of the iPhone / iPod touch. Within, a method for communicating high scores and various other achievements to a central community server is described.
"The media purchase system can also be utilized to facilitate a community of game players. These game players acquire games via a client device and media management application, and then play the games on portable electronic devices. The game play data, including game performance data for specific games, can be transfered from the portable electronic devices to the client devices. The client devices can then transfer such game play data over the data network to a game community server. For example, the game performance data can pertain to a high score that a user achieved while playing the game on the portable electronic device."
The patent indicates that all game data transmitted would be digitally signed to ensure authenticity. Given the rich connectivity that both the iPhone and iPod touch enjoy, it just makes sense for Apple to provide this added dimension for mobile gamers utilizing the company's mobile platform. We're anxious to see just how this evolves.