Google Play Games: Everything you need to know

by: Joe HindyAugust 17, 2013

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


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.

Google Play Games 4

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.

Google Play Games 5

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

  • MasterMuffin

    All your game are belong to us :)

  • Stargate

    Unless i missed it there was nothing up there about syncing progress across devices, ive used it with a few games so far, its really handy :)

  • jeffrey carré

    Is it available outside the US ?

    • JosephHindy

      I’ve heard some people say yes and others say no. It’s definitely region specific but I’m unsure which regions.

    • Victor Meira

      I installed Play Games the day they launched it, and I live in Brazil.
      So no, not US only.
      But I don’t know where else it is available.

    • GrinigGammalGubbe

      Works in Sweden!

    • Balvinder Makkar

      working in India

    • Klein Tamás

      Working in Hungary. Trust me, if something is available in my country than it is available all over te world:D

    • jeffrey carré

      actually the error message says that its incompatible with my glalaxy Nexus , Nexus 7, Nexus S, S3 …..

    • Vardan Nazaretyan

      Working here in Germany :)

  • Awais

    I don’t know why the hell google isn’t using it as a centralized universal game launcher. All game apps inside of this app. There is an option to run the game but its just an afterthought not taken seriously. Gamers like me who have tonns of games installed will find it useful.

    • Seth Forbus

      My “games” folder on my launcher has like 40 apps in it on my phone. Then on my Nvidia shield it has even more. The shield has a nice little button in the center that opens a central hub of all your games on the device. It is nice.

  • Alu Zeros

    would be nice if every android phone had this, but the don’t. Still on on 4.1, with a brand new phone lol

  • Mean Gene

    Would be nice if could send or receive invites, I’m able to play with people around the world just not with me circles.

  • greeted by , not available in your country message.

    • Ivan Budiutama

      same here

  • djas

    Google Play just shit -_- they said incompatible games on my lg optimus l7 p705 bbut when i download it else where it works perfectly :3

    Google play Sucks Really , paying for games which does not eventually work .|.

  • mike

    Hey everyone, I just released a game on google play and iOS so please check it out. The name is Never Stop Shooting and here is the link to google play.

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