GameCenterApp1We've been posting about the dreaded months-old Game Center bug quite a bit for a number of reasons. First off, the thread in our forums is hitting critical mass, even more annoying is it's impacting how we cover games here on TouchArcade as we straight up can't play a lot of iOS games anymore. Worse yet, this bug is likely affecting a much larger audience than anyone realizes. Think about it- iOS gaming in 2016 is hitting a very mainstream audience. Have you ever watched a friend of relative who is bad with technology encounter something that doesn't work? They just don't use it, delete whatever is causing the problem, and move on with their life.

With the App Store being overloaded with content, how much effort do you think a random mainstream casual gamer is going to put into fixing a free game they downloaded that doesn't work? I absolutely promise step two of a game not working for this kind of person isn't "Let me go look up some threads on TouchArcade." It's a scary prospect to think about for game developers, as even if it's hitting a tiny percentage of the devices out there, due to the sheer scale of the iOS device market, you're still talking potentially millions of people who can't play games that rely on Game Center.

Anyway, since every time we post about this people have no idea what the Game Center bug looks like, I figured I'd repost this video which was posted to our forums this morning by CraigG. Basically, any interaction with Game Center is met with a white screen of death:

Depending on when a game invokes Game Center, this bug can make games totally unplayable. At the end of the video, he plays Dashy Crashy, dies, and loads the leaderboard which causes the white screen of death. If you're playing a game that tries to load up Game Center when you launch it, well, it's entirely unplayable.

  • http://www.just-the-drummer.co.uk/ Rob Allison

    It's about time they got this fixed. I guess I need to take out the link to GC in our new game? :/

    • Anotherkellydown

      As long as the game doesn't force Game Center to start you should be fine. Some devs have changed it so that the game will wait a few seconds on startup and then continue if it doesn't load.

    • sobriquet

      You don't have to remove the link just don't make the game depend on a GC Connection to work. I don't understand why any developer would make their game dependent on an unnecessary feature like GC. Plenty of games don't use GC for scores and achievements but aren't completely broken if you can't connect. Rayark did a good thing by removing the necessity for GC from implosion, but why was it there in the first place?

      • http://reillystroope.com/ Reilly Stroope

        GameCenter is supposed to be a native tool. Not every developer has the resources to create their own all in one notification/leaderboard/matchmaking/data transfer systems. Not to mention many of these games were far into development (or released) before this problem arose. Making games isn't a simple wave of the wand.

      • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

        My upcoming game Scree uses GameCenter for scores and achievements, and it's hard enough for me to squeeze development time in among my day job without having to handle that stuff myself! (Much less having to pay for a cloud service when GC is free.) I really hope GC gets sorted out soon.

      • sobriquet

        What I'm saying/asking us why make the game dependent on GC. I understand what GC is for but I don't understand why a developer would implement GC in such a way that their game doesn't even load if you aren't connected to it. It doesn't make sense.

      • http://reillystroope.com/ Reilly Stroope

        As I mentioned, I would assume a lot of games affected by this bug were released before this became a problem. There's also the possibly that the developer was not aware since the bug is so seemingly random.

      • Maude St. Nubbins

        A perfect example is Clash Royale, which only enables device sharing through Game Center. Most games provide options (email, Facebook, etc). So until the bug is fixed, I can't retrieve my progress from the soft launch cloud save, or share progress on my iPad.

    • mr_bez

      Hey Rob, it doesn't stop Hopiko from working, just means you can't view or upload scores to the leaderboard. The friend and global leaderboard positions on the menu constantly look like they are loading, but you can still play the game.

  • Cccee

    This is exactly it.

    Occasionally I'll get little combinations of things too. Like sometimes I'll be playing a game, and the banner at the top appears welcoming me to Game Center. Butt her nothing connects or I get a sign-in box, but THAT does not connect either.

    And every once in a while if I open the GC app I'll get the balloons on the first screen, but nothing ever works or connects in the other tabs, such as Games, Challenges, etc.

    It's very annoying. And to think I used to be a big GC supporter because I don't like to use Facebook. I wish they'd bring back Plus or Open Feint. They worked!

  • uFinKnow

    This has plagued me since December. Countless games won't work. I can't use my Metal Slug Defense now with the new event. I lose saved games. This is getting to be a major problem on my iPad. I really hope there is enough outcry that Apple addresses this issue. I gave up I don't know what to do anymore.

  • cmdrmonty

    My Game Center works as it should. I feel lucky at that. I have several games that use it with none of the bugs mentioned by others. Odd indeed.

    • Matthew

      Have you upgraded to 9.3 yet? I managed to get it to work under 9.2 after a factory reset, but as soon as I updated it broke again. I'm not resetting again, too much of a pain in the butt just for playing games. I just don't play games that require it anymore and I will never buy a game that requires GC because of this bug. It's sad, since I'm sure some of these developers deserve the support.

      • CmdrMonty

        Yup I'm on 9.3. Iphone 6 16gb. I feel lucky and also am fully aware this is a horrible issue many face. Pirate Power, Dashy Crashy and the like are games I enjoy and imagine with this bug they would be unplayable for the most part.

      • YaoYao

        Pirate Power you can play...but no arena or friends. So no power pearls or whatever and none of the best gear. Source: living it.

      • cmdrmonty

        Me and my wife play it and send gifts often to each other, pearls and coins and such, I also just tried out arena and it works just fine. Which makes me wonder why my Game Center doesn't have this bug.

    • nini

      I've only ever encountered it in one game, Soda Dungeon, and that was because that game just froze visually, you could tap and it'd be doing things but you'd only get an updated screen if you left and came back. Anyway, I got lucky having encountered it twice and never again since and it's really untenable for Apple not putting some resources into fixing it. Like a lot of things for Apple currently though, it's being backburnered to the point of nobody working on it so it's kinda rotting there. Thing is, before GC we had a bunch of networks just like it like OpenFeint, Crystal and Plus+, would be neat to see a new third-party not called Facebook providing a service. If Steam could get in on it even, that'd be ideal but yeah, the floor is open to new competition and sitting on this issue isn't doing Apple any favours.

  • Fangbone

    I'm curious if the bug is brought on by opening/interacting with the Game Center app. I rarely open the app. I don't have the bug on either my iPhone or iPad and both are on 9.2.1. Thought about checking to see if the app works but don't want to invoke the wrath of this bug if I don't need to.

    • WP

      It certainly seemed to be the source for me - it seemed like every time I got GC working and would open the app, I'd get the white screen and no more GC connectivity. Finally, after one of the times I got GC working again, I have not tried opening GC on any of my iOS devices and it has not been a problem since.

    • Maude St. Nubbins

      You can get the white screen of death in the app too.

    • Craig Grannell

      Oddly enough, my iPad Air is on 9.2.1 and fine. But I don't think it's anything to do with a specific OS, since the iPad in the video is an Air 2 that's had the problem for a month or so—i.e. pre-iOS 9.3. My iPhone's had it since last year.

  • Amoa

    I've had this bug on my iPhone 6S+ ever since I got the phone, 1 week after launch. It's horrible. Not being able to cloud save games that uses GC, not playing games that require you to login to it before even launching (World of Tanks Blitz and Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes both say hi) is really hard. And with GC becoming more "mainstream" more games are using it, which mean more new games are just unplayable for me.

  • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

    Wow, I've had widely varied GameCenter issues, including one device asking for my password constantly and then settling down after a week... but thankfully not this particular issue!

  • bones boy

    Not really a white screen of DEATH - the device still works and you don't have to reboot or restart the device. Sorry just a personal peeve of mine, the whole "insert-color-here" screen of death to indicate ANYTHING that doesn't work and ends up in a blank screen. Okay I'm grumpy today, the coffee this morning was really bitter and gross. But seriously thank you for continuing to champion this iOS issue.

  • Dman

    I've NEVER have had this problem and I play a TON of games. I'm not saying that his isn't a problem for some but I think it's being blown WAY out of proportion. That being said, for however amount of people its effecting, obviously it should be fixed. But this idea that if a game uses GameCenter and wants to show off there hard work, and you won't look at it, is ridiculous and hostile. Personally, in the last week I've been using Game Center on Clash Royale and it's worked like a charm. Ive also been switching between my iPad and iPhone with no problem. And as far as the video is concerned, I've never seen that as well on my devices.

    • sobriquet

      I'm sorry, what are you saying is hostile? And what is being blown out of proportion? The GC bug is effecting people's devices and it's making quit a few games unplayable. Good for you that you don't have it but that's your experience. My experience and that of others is that our games aren't working.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      How do you expect us to review a game that doesn't work because of the Game Center bug? It's not like we're saying "Game Center? Fuck you." We're saying, "Damn, I wish Game Center worked because this looks pretty cool." Furthermore, how many people need to be affected by a bug before it becomes worth raising awareness of, in your eyes?

      • rza422

        Hi Eli, what about running a quick survey through toucharcade to see how may people have been affected? Could be really simple with 3 options: no problem, now fixed and still broken. Might help in contact with Apple to get some kind of percentage?

    • TheGodless

      Ever heard of confirmation bias? If not, you should check it out. It's the source of so many old white people claiming that racism doesn't exist anymore.

  • disc0

    It works normaly on my ip6s, ios 9.3. Never had any probs with it, too bad, many people have problems :(

  • Vuvu

    It's complete crap. I haven't had GC working since probably October or so. It's sucks because I used to play Muffin Knight a lot with my girlfriend, and you can't play with friends without GC. Also don't want to do a full restart of my phone because my progress would be lost. And anyone who's played Muffin Knight knows that I would never want to unlock all the characters and level them up again.

    It's seriously frustrating that Apple has appeared to have not acknowledged this issue. I honestly want to play Clash of Champions (Marvel) or whatever for fun, but I can't play it without GC.

    • Craig Grannell

      For what it's worth, as I've written on my blog, Apple is at least now _officially_ aware of the problem, albeit only as of a couple of weeks ago. Support teams have been briefed. (That people were complaining about this bug during the iOS 9 betas last summer is, apparently, neither here nor there.)

  • AlpacaLips

    Guess I'm lucky. I've never experienced this. I play games that use GC features, but I never open the GC app and don't actually ever look at Game Center features. Guess I better keep it that way.

  • GiHubb

    I just got the bug today - a day after I "upgraded" to iOS 9.3! Damn...

  • chief78

    For all saying your GC works, great, good for you. Don't trash talk about an issue you know nothing about, especially when it's not affecting you. For those of us it is, we quite literally cannot play these games. Devs are losing money, Apple is ultimately losing money, and many well-intending customers are not spending money to support the iOS ecosystem....end of story.

  • dayteed

    Well from an unethical business-y perspective it makes perfect sense - Apple doesn't have a reputation for fixing bugs that force you to upgrade either a) your operating system (insert your mac os or ios version here) or b) your hardware. The number of features introduced by later versions of ios that broke retrocompatibility in one way or another can attest to that. A game center bug that forces users to reinstall their device / upgrade to latest ios, or simply get a new device? Business bliss.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      This would make sense in a tinfoil hat kind of way if buying a 6S and upgrading to 9.3 fixed the problem. Unfortunately, neither is true.

      • sobriquet

        Exactly. And as far as I know, no one still running pre iOS 9 OS is effected by the problem.

      • GiHubb

        Indeed- my iPhone 6s broke GC today, a day after I upgraded to iOS 9.3. Yet GC works fine on my iPad Air running iOS 9.0.2 which I now will definitely not upgrade.

    • VirtualBoyFreak

      But it's the other way around: the GC bug affects new devices with new iOS versions. On my 4S and iPad 3, both with iOS 7.1.2, I've never had this bug, and I also read that the bug began appearing on an iOS 8 iteration upwards, but not on previous versions.

      I have other GC bugs, such as disconnecting and having to log on because it somehow lost the password/credentials, but it reconnects and that's it. Quite possibly the bug has to do with losing credentials or something similar because of expired certificates, combined with the GC app being unable to show a logon screening and entering an infinite loop (white screen of death). What I honestly don't understand is why Apple doesn't deal with it as they should, even if that meant stopping GC support for old iOS devices/versions such as mine.

    • Maude St. Nubbins

      Except that it's not connected to hardware or iOS version (9.3 still has the bug, iOS 8.x isn't affected), so your point is moot.

      • sobriquet

        You just repeated what he said in different words and then told him he's wrong. What are you smoking?

  • madreviewer

    TestFlight cause it if you have used it before updating

    • Craig Grannell

      Not true. I've never had this issue on my iPad Air, which has both versions of TestFlight running (i.e. pre- and post-Apple).

  • Jbruno99

    It works fine on my iPhone 5s with iOS 9

  • http://reillystroope.com/ Reilly Stroope

    For those of you WITH the GameCenter bug, we would love to have you on as testers for our game. If you'd like to help out please sign up here http://goo.gl/forms/6xSOXcRL29

  • gmattergames

    Question is, would a fix require a new version of iOS to be deployed, or is it a server-side issue? Has Apple acknowledged the issue or indicated an eta?

    • chief78

      Their response has been "it only affects 1% of our users so it's no big deal".....except 1% of 1 billion users = F U Apple

    • Craig Grannell

      Acknowledged via support but no ETA on a fix.

  • Dragan

    I had the bug on iOS 9, did a full reset and until now 9.3 stayed bug free but i don't open GC anymore.

  • LordGek

    Wow, nice to see this finally get some TA coverage. It may only seem a wide spread disaster to those of us effected, but its Apple's silence about this issue, and their tech support appearing to have never heard of the issue before for months until just recently, that hurts the most.

    • Jessica Pelshaw

      I have had this bug too since I upgraded to 9.2. I even became part of the beta program so I could let them know about the issue, and get it resolved. Sure enough, didn't even respond back to me, let alone acknowledge my problem. I am about this close to going back to android. I can't believe Apple has allowed this issue to go on this long. It's quite sad and a shame that such a popular company couldn't care less about the ones who made them, let's say popular, but rich is more up their alley. I say go android... It's much more reliable!

  • Donny K76

    The saddest part of this entire headache is that Apple says diddly, they release new products, and people continue to support them. Game companies and people that have spent a wad of money should think about a class action lawsuit based on loss of revenue, emotional distress, and money that users paid for Games that support GC. Not to mention all those awesome games before iOS 7 that utilize GC and are available on the App Store.

    • Donny K76

      Cool! My posts don't work via the TA app but they work when I sign into Disqus! Perhaps Bronze supporting is in order after a couple more paychecks😀

  • HelperMonkey

    Preach, Hodapp!
    I thought Apple might start taking gaming seriously when rumors were swirling about the new AppleTV. That launch killed those expectations, and THIS - even with 9.3 - is driving the nail in the coffin. How are they so oblivious to the amount of money flying around? Have investors caught a whiff of this?
    It's reckless disregard for a viable gaming environment, and it should be a scandal.

  • JamGela

    My GC works fine on version 9.1 iPhone 6 Plus. I don't upgrade unless there is something I need in the update or I'm forced too. BUT maybe this is something more serious and that's why Apple is not speaking up about it...

  • DemoEvolved

    I have this big

    • DemoEvolved

      Bug. Dam u autocorrect

  • zergslayer69

    I'm still on 8.4. Should I log out of Game Center before updating to iOS 9?

    • Zohar

      No, you should pray.

      • zergslayer69

        So when I'm done praying, do you think that'll avoid the GC bug?

  • fabell

    I feel like the bug may be caused by app overload, at least on my machine. If I load up too many apps that use Game Center and then keep those up running on my phone, GC seems to crash more often and I have to close out all apps and restart the phone in airplane mode, sign out of GC while in airplane mode and then re-sign back in with wifi or 3G. But the bug also seems to initiate when I use a VPN to change my IP address... when I change too much GC seems to stop working. If I only keep one or two games up and running and don't change my VPN, usually I can keep GC up indefinitely. Not that that happens often.

  • http://www.twitter.com/supaflyindie Supaflyindie

    Is there any indication that Apple is aware of this issue? It's insane that it's been so long and nothing has been fixed with this

  • Artfoundry

    What?? How have I not seen this issue on here before? I've been dealing with this problem for like six months, maybe longer! Even after getting a replacement iPhone 6, I'm still having the problem. Getting a new phone and restoring the phone to factory settings resolved the issue for about one week, but that's it. It's unbelievable it's been going on this long. I work at Apple (as a web developer though), so I'm going to try looking into it now that I can point to this thread and article for evidence.

  • keziekat

    This is weird cause I've never had this issue. On my iPhone 6+ and iPad Air 2 it opens up and works normal. Didn't even know people had problems with it.

  • http://jcksn.org/ Jesse Jackson

    I have had this problem since at least iOS 9.1 and here is a workaround that solved it for me:

    1. Close all running apps
    2. Activate Airplane mode
    3. Turn off iPhone
    4. Turn on iPhone
    5. Navigate to Settings > Game Center
    6. Log out of Game Center if not already logged out
    7. Deactivate Airplane mode
    8. Log in to Game Center

    • Craig Grannell

      I would personally omit step 8 from that. If you can logout of Game Center, stay logged out until there is a fix. Because, chances are, this fix won't work for long, and eventually you won't even be able to access Game Center in Settings when Airplane mode is on (or the logout process will endlessly pinwheel).

      • http://jcksn.org/ Jesse Jackson

        Why do you say "chances are..."? Did you try what I suggested and it stopped working for you? I haven't had a problem since I did that. I understand being skeptical—skepticism is great!—but if you haven't tried, I don't understand why you're staying that.

      • Craig Grannell

        To clarify, the video linked to in this piece is mine, and I've been writing about this issue since last year. The fix you mention has worked for some people, but is typically temporary. In my case, it lasted a few hours. Some people have had more luck, but most find they keep reapplying this voodoo fix. However, at some point, you may find yourself essentially locked out of the relevant bit of Settings regardless, or that the logout never happens. Hence my suggestion to remain logged out rather than logging back in again, which re-enables access to games that fail on launch if Game Center isn't working.

  • uFinKnow

    I can't even access Game Center in settings it crashes my iPad every time.

  • thermalsatsuma

    I saw the bug this morning when it stopped Capitals from working. I was able to resolve it with a force restart, following by signing out of Game Centre and back in again in settings

    Interestingly enough, I got a reply back from @apple_support in Twitter after I'd sorted it myself!

  • gnome9er

    apparently you can fix this white screen bug by going into airplane mode, rebooting, signing out of game center from settings, turn on wifi and reboot again. if u cant sign out then try rebooting a couple times should do it. i couldnt try this how ever because of my broken power button. i tried by reseting network settings to reboot but when i come back airplane mode is turned off. can you guys please try this out and see if it works? i cant credit the original person who posted this cuz i forget who but i found it originally on google somewhere.

    • Craig Grannell

      It sometimes works for some people, and not always permanently. It worked once for my iPhone, but now that can't sign out of Game Center whatever I try.

  • Travis Ryan

    Lack of support has huge implications for us smaller devs creating socially driven arcade games - beyond trying to test your own bloody features! :) We specifically consider platform features like GC and try to elevate them with new twists to help build a competitive social community around your games. In Dashy Crashy ver 1.0 we populated the highway with your friends and other GC players to provide continuous ‘goals’ to chase and you can unlock the cars they’re driving.

    However, for Dashy Crashy ver 1.1 (soon !!) we’ve had to rethink this feature (which resulted in us completely overhauling the unlocking system…) and also put all other proposed GC features on hold.

    optimistic speculation for apple stalling would be a long overdue refresh of their social gaming platform, in support of a stronger push for gaming as a future focus? If Apple don’t, I wouldn’t be surprised to see development platforms creating their own cross-platform social gaming solutions in the very near future

  • Nathan Goldstein

    I copied this comment from the other thread because its worth mentioning

    I have a solution that has worked! It does require a restore but its worth it!

    I had this issue and i contacted Apple support, and they told me that i had to back up my iDevice, then you erase all contents and settings, BUT instead of restoring backup right after, you should instead set up device as new, and sign in to gamecentre. Then after signing in to gamecentre and making sure its working, you can then restore your backup. Voila, gamecentre works like a charm after restoring your backup.

    In a nutshell; You can 1) erase all content and settings 2) setup as new 3) sign into gamecenter and make sure it works 4) restore from backup and test out.

    The way it works, he told me is when we are setting up as new the apple id tries to make a fresh connection with gamecenter. Once that fresh connection is established then gamecenter is reading that apple id over again. Which is why we want to do it as new device first. Then when we restore from backup gamecenter still remembers the last connection.You can then restore your backup with and the device reads the good link that you previously had with the apple id. Worked for me and i hope this helps.