A few days ago, we got wind of the fact that Google had plans to launch a Game Center-esque new gaming platform for Android thanks to an apk teardown. This then got followed up with more information in a later report, but Google managed to keep the rest of the upcoming gaming platform’s details out of our hands. Until now.
Today, Google officially took the wraps off Google Play Game Services, its attempt at offering mobile gamers the ultimate cross-platform gaming experience. We imagine that comparisons with Apple’s Game Center for iOS are inevitable, but truthfully it’s much more than that. So what makes Google Play Game Services so special?
For starters, Google Play Game Services comes with four major features, which are real-time multiplayer, achievements, cloud saves, and leaderboards. But the great thing about it is that the last three things mentioned above will be available for Google Play users across three different platforms.
Achievements, cloud saves, and leaderboards will be available not just on Android but on iOS and the Web as well. And that fourth Google Play Game Services feature — real-time multiplayer — will for now remain available only on Android.
Google lead product manager Greg Hartell has mentioned that real-time multiplayer could one day be made available for iOS, but he didn’t set a definite date for its rollout. For now, only Android users can enjoy its benefits (it’s available now through an update for a handful of games), along with the cross-platform features mentioned above. To learn more about Google Play Game Services, peep at the official press release posted below.
For more from Google I/O, check out our liveblog here.
Introducing Google Play game services (May 15th, 2013)
We love to talk about games at Google. Especially the old ones, like Pac-man, Pitfall and Frogger. Since those classics, games have changed a lot. They’ve moved from that clunky box in your living room to the screen that you carry with you in your pocket wherever you go. They’re mobile, they’re social, and they’re an important part of Google Play.
Today, we’re launching Google Play game services, a core part of building a gaming platform for the next generation of games. These services help you make your games more social, with achievements, leaderboards, and multiplayer, as well as more powerful, storing game saves and settings in the cloud. They are available on Android, and many on iOS or any other connected device. By building on Google’s strengths in mobile and cloud services, you can focus on what you’re good at as game developers: creating great gaming experiences for your users.
With game services, you can incorporate:
Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.
Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.
Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.
Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.
Several great Android games are already using these new game services, including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.
We’re excited to see what games will do with these new services and experiences, and this is only the beginning. Wait until you get to the boss battle… er.. Check out our developer site to get started: https://developers.google.com/games/
Greg Hartrell, Lead Product Manager