WWDC 2011 Keynote: Gaming News Roundup

Apple made many announcements today at their WWDC 2011 keynote presentation, some of which are likely to have a major impact on the tech industry. For a full list of those announcements, be sure to check out our liveblog of the event. Luckily for us gamers, many of the new features announced for iOS 5 relate either directly to gaming, or to managing apps on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Here’s a rundown of what gamers can look forward to when iOS 5 hits this fall.

Wireless Syncing

Well, it’s about time. With iOS 5, you won’t need to connect your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to your computer’s USB port to sync it with iTunes. In fact, you’ll be able to run your devices without ever syncing them to a computer. This is huge, because using USB cables to juggle games, files, songs, and apps between multiple devices in the age of wireless computing was really starting to feel archaic.

App Data Syncing

Steve Jobs was a little vague on this point in his speech, but if we’re understanding it correctly, iCloud’s “app data syncing” feature has two very important effects on iOS gaming. One is that game saves will sync between devices. So, if you have Infinity Blade installed on your iPhone and your iPad, you’ll be able to pick up either device and continue where you left off last time you played. It also means that your save will remain in the cloud if you delete and reinstall the game. This is huge. In fact, this was our most requested feature in our Game Center 2.0 wishlist, and it sure looks like it’s coming true.

Game Center Becomes More Social

Once iOS 5 is released, Game Center will let you and your friends recommend games to each other. We’re not sure how this recommendation system will work, but we like the sound of it. Also, you’ll be able to post your picture on your profile and see your friends’ friend lists. Additionally, you’ll be able to play turn-based games with friends, something that’s already possible in many non-Game Center games, like Disc Drivin’ and Words With Friends.

Buy Games Through Game Center

This isn’t a feature we’ve been clamoring for, but we’ll take it. If a game your friend recommends looks good to you, you’ll be able to buy it directly from Game Center: no need to switch over to the App Store.

Funnily enough, the gaming-related updates we’re most excited about– wireless syncing and app data saving to the cloud– have nothing to do with Game Center. The updates to Game Center itself are pretty minimal, but at least it shows that Apple is working on improving the experience.

What did you think of the news announced at today’s keynote? Which features are you looking forward to the most in iOS 5?

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