Google rolls out cross-platform iOS/Android gaming with Play Games Services

Google logoGoogle's gaming ambitions took another step forward today. The company's Android wing is attending the 2014 Game Developers Conference, where it announced a new version of Google Play Games Services that enables cross-platform multiplayer support for iOS and Android.

Play Games Services is a backend API for developers of Android, iOS, and Web games that works a lot like Xbox Live: it enables developers to easily set up achievements, leaderboards, multiplayer and cloud saves using Google's cloud infrastructure and development APIs. Multiplayer has been available on Android for some time, but now iOS users can get in on the fun, too—and even square off against their Android counterparts.

Google rolls out cross-platform iOS/Android gaming with Play Games Services

Google is also launching a ton of other features at GDC 2014. Its Unity plugin is being updated to support the new cross-platform features, and an "early" Play Games C++ SDK, which supports achievements and leaderboards, is being launched soon. Google says the new SDK should help with cross-platform game development. The Play Store is finally launching the new game categories that Google announced three months ago—it will be jumping from six categories to 18. The Google Play Developer Console will be updated with some unspecified Play Games analytics, and Google is also launching "in-app purchase ads," a way to "target users with specific promotions to buy items in your game."

On the user-facing side of things, The Play Games app will now allow users to invite each other to multiplayer games, and users will be able to send "game gifts" to others. Game gifts aren't actual games or apps, but virtual in-game objects. This would presumably allow users to buy a pay-to-win item and send it to their friends. Of course, none of this will happen until developers integrate the new APIs into their apps, so we'll have to wait for a new version of Google Play Services to roll out to everyone and developers to update their apps before we actually see it in action.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, computer games, Google, iOS

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