Launched in 2013, Google Play Game Services allowed mobile game developers access to a series of tools that allowed them to put in cross-platform features like leaderboards, achievements and more for games made for Android, the web and iOS. Today, Google confirmed that it will be making some changes to those tools, including ending support for its iOS SDK.
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In a blog post, Google said it ended support for adding new iOS accounts to Google Play Game Services in December, due to what the company claims was the low use of those tools on Apple’s mobile operating system. Going forward, it will no longer update or support the iOS SDK, nor will its native SDK release support any integration with iOS. It appears that game developers can still add web support for any games made with Google Play Game Services, along with Android of course, but the removal of iOS support means the tools are not quite as “cross-platform” as once advertised.
In addition, Google claims that after examining data from games made with the tools, developers apparently don’t use the Gifts, Requests, and Quests features in Google Play Game Services as much as others. Therefore, the company has decided to slowly end support for these features. It will officially deactivate them after March 31, 2018, which should give any game developers who use Gifts, Requests, and Quests in their titles plenty of time to remove them.
Games that used the Gifts feature allowed gamers to send in-game items to friends, while Requests allowed gamers to ask others to send them in-game Gifts. The Quests feature let game developers create new time-based objectives for players in their games without making them download an update. Google Play Game Services will continue to support features like achievements, leaderboards, multiplayer and sign-in for game titles.
Even with these changes, Google says it is “working hard on future GPGS updates” and that it remains committed to offering game developers “high quality services”. Hopefully we will learn more about the company’s plans for game development and tool updates in May as part of its the 2017 Google I/O conference.