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Google Play Games adding game gifts, new categories and more

Google has now officially announced a few new changes are heading to Google Play Games, such as in-game gift giving and cross-platform multiplayer.
March 17, 2014
Google Play Games

The Game Developers’ Conference 2014 is kicking off today, an annual event that has been around since 1988. As part of their GDC announcement, Google has now officially revealed that a few new changes are heading to Google Play Games.

Probably one of the most unexpected changes is the ability to send in-game gifts to other players. Officially dubbed as “game gifts”, the option makes it so you can send specific in-game items to other players. This could be particularly useful in games such as action RPGs and the like, but it will obviously be up to individual developers to add support for the feature. The idea of in-game gifts could certainly prove useful if done right, but it’s probably not a feature any of us have really been dying for.

Aside from in-game gifting, Google also is bringing 18 new game categories to the Play Store as previously announced, and then there’s some changes to multiplayer as well. Not only will Google be adding the ability for players to send multiplayer invites to friends directly, Google has also announced it is adding multiplayer support for iOS and it will be cross-platform capable. In other words, you’ll be able to play supported multiplayer games with any of your friends or family members that rock Apple devices.

While these are the features that will most directly affect end-users, Google also announced several developer changes such as improved statistics and ad analytics, and a Play Games C++ SDK to support achievements and leaderboards.

So when can we expect these changes? According to Google’s official blog, the new tools and features will start launching in the coming weeks, though it will likely be a month or more before we really start actively seeing game gifts and other changes added to our favorite games.

For more details on what to expect, be sure to check out Google’s official blog.