Google Play Games: Everything you need to know

August 17, 2013
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Google Play Games

We’ve heard a lot about Google Play Games. It was rumored before Google I/O, announced at Google I/O and released a few short weeks later. Google Play Games has been out for a little while now and it’s about time we took you for a stroll through the app to show you what it’s really supposed to do. If you’re not a big fan of reading, you can find the video at the bottom. You can also find the download button down there as well. Let’s get started.

Google Play Games 1

Functionality

Okay so let’s start out with the bottom line. What does Google Play Games actually do? What it does is act like a dashboard for all of your gaming needs on your Android device. Think of it like the Xbox or PS3 dashboard or even the Steam dashboard. It doesn’t do anything cool on its own, but gives you access to the things that do.

So here’s what it does. Using this app you can view all of your games. If those games have Google Play Games support, you can also view things like achievements. It’ll show you all the games you’ve played, the ones you’ve played recently, and the ones you have currently installed. You can also browse featured and popular titles as well as titles that support official Google Play Games multiplayer.

You can view you friends on Google+ who also use Google Play Games. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s great if you have friends who play and you want to find them. It’s bad when you have 1800 people in circles like I do and they all sign up for Google Play Games then don’t play any games. There is the possibility of having a giant list of people who play no games.

Really, that’s about all it does. The things you can do from the app is useful, but the app itself is really just a graphical dashboard for gamers so they can find everything they need in one spot, whether it be games to play or friends to play them with.

Google Play Games 2

How can I use this?

So you’re probably wondering how you can use Google Play Games. Well if you don’t play games, you can’t. This is for gamers only and non-gamers will have a very difficult time finding anything useful about this app.

To gamers, I pose this question. What do you use the Xbox Dashboard for? You see what friends are online and see what they’re playing, right? You can view the games you have downloaded, browse for more games and launch games as well. If you take all that and put it in an Android app for Google Play Games Services, you have this app.

For gamers, probably the best use for this dashboard is finding multiplayer games. More specifically, popular multiplayer games that use Google Play Games Services and that people actually play. This is an epic improvement to Android if you’re a social gamer. By social gamer, I’m not talking spamming your friends with Candy Crush invites, but like actually game online with people.

Google Play Games 3

What we liked

So here’s what we liked. It’s a great place to manage all of your Android games. Android has long needed something to kind of combine the Android gaming experience into one, solid spot and this fills that hole perfectly. Mobile gamers now have an interface with which to build and enjoy their gaming networks.

It’s early on, but more and more games are adopting the Play Games philosophy. Before long there will be achievements, cloud saves, and proper multiplayer available everywhere, all under the same Play Games dashboard. We find there’s nothing wrong with that. We do like that it keeps track of all games, not just those that have Play Games features.

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What we didn’t like

Google still has a lot of work to do but it’s mostly little stuff. For instance, you can view achievements and friends who play games. But you can’t narrow down your search for all your friends who play a specific game or view all your achievements at once. It isn’t a big deal but some search filters and other ergonomic improvements would’ve been nice.

The people section doesn’t get narrowed down based on who actually plays games. Instead it seems to list everyone in your Google+ circles whether they actually play games or not. We have a whole Google+ app to pay attention to non-gamers who want to #caturday on Wednesdays. We felt that maybe those people should have been filtered out here so we could pay attention to our gamer friends.

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Google Play Games Final Thoughts

Overall, this is a really awesome idea that’s implemented, for the most part, really well. Giving gamers their own interface to track and interact with their games is kind of a must have these days since PC gaming and console gaming both have similar dashboards for their gamers.

Lastly, we really wish they’d filter non gamers out of the contact list. Finding people who game is awesome, but scrolling through hundreds of people to find even one gamer is the opposite of awesome.

Would we recommend it? Well, yes. It’s free and as the platform grows and improves, it will become an essential app for any mobile gamer. Just remember that the system isn’t perfect yet. To give it a shot, just click on the Google Play button below.

Get it on Google Play

Video Review

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