Announced for the Game Developers Conference 2014, Google Play Games team member Greg Hartrell brought forth some fantastic news about changes to the app which will include deep integration between Android and iOS games for the first time.
According for Mr. Hartrell, Google Play Games will be more of a service than ever across Android, iOS and the standard web browser. Google will now be implementing game gifts, a service allowing players to send virtual in-game items to anyone in their circles (Google Plus.) Additionally, the Play Games app can now send multiplayer invites directly, just as Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network do on their respective platforms. The Play Store will also feature 18 categories for gaming, making it easier than every to find the games you were looking for – most of which presumably won’t support this multiplayer at launch.
Detailing the cross-platform functionality, Mr. hartrell detailed the “Tools to take your game to the next level.”
Further enhancing Google Play Game services, we’re expanding multiplayer to support iOS, bringing turn-based and real-time multiplayer capabilities to both Android and iOS.
To further help with cross platform game development, we’re updating our Play Games Unity Plug-in to support cross-platform multiplayer services, and introducing an early Play Games C++ SDK to support achievements and leaderboards.
In addition, we’re launching enhanced Play Games statistics on the Google Play Developer Console, providing easy game analytics for Play Games adopters. Developers will gain a daily dashboard that visualizes player and engagement statistics for signed in users, including daily active users, retention analysis and achievement, and leaderboard performance.
Functionality for mobile platforms to coexist and cooperate poses a great many questions. With the PlayStation Network cooperating with PC only through the Sony Entertainment Network and Microsoft going it alone, this makeshift collaboration between iOS and Android – in cooperation with the new Galaxy S5’s quad-core processor, gaming on the mobile platform can be a much more viable option. Will Sony be able to bring Final Fantasy 16 to the iOS on the Sony Entertainment Network through a partnership with Google Play? The door is now open thanks to Google. Given that 4 out of 5 Android devices owned are used for mobile gaming, there is plenty of potential for mobile gaming to blast off as a serious platform, all it takes is a better interface.