Members of the iPhone Developer Program report that the latest beta of iOS 4.1 has dropped Game Center social networking support for earlier generations of iPhone and iPod Touch devices.
Announced earlier this year, Apple's Game Center is a unified social networking platform for App Store gaming applications. The Xbox Live-like infrastructure adds matchmaking, leaderboards, achievements, and other social features to supported games for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Consumer weblog Engadget notes
that beta 3 of the iOS 4.1 firmware update limits Game Center support to iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and third-generation iPod Touch devices.
Previously, Game Center support was included for all iOS 4-equipped devices, excluding only first- and second-generation iPhones and first-generation iPod Touch devices.
User speculation suggests that Game Center's infrastructure proved too taxing for earlier generations of iPhone and iPod Touch hardware. Many features introduced in iOS 4.0 -- including multitasking -- were exclusive to iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod Touch devices.
Though Apple has not commented regarding the possibility of Game Center for the iPad, future support for the device remains likely, pending the release of an iPad-specific iOS 4.0 firmware.