Oct 4, 2013
Android is now a huge platform for developers, and has made significant ground against Apple in recent years. Now, Google have released Google Play Games for Android devices, which matches the functionality of Apple’s game center. Google claim, “the Google Play Games app is the new go-to gaming destination on your Android phone and tablet. Play with friends, discover new games, compete for glory and collect achievements, all in the new Google Play Games app.”
So, what significance does this have for developers?
There are a number of important features for developers, which should improve gaming experiences on the Android platform. The first is the ability to easily create multiplayer games in real-time, with allows for competitions and co-operation between gamers. Google Play Games allows for invitations (or challenges) to be sent between players easily. It allows data transfer between game clients, as well as auto-matching players for certain games. It also interlinks with Google+, with will act as fully-fledged profiles for players. This could also expand the social network, that was a slight letdown on release. But perhaps Google have better plans for it, to merely integrate it into their other services.
Similar to other platforms, Google Play Games will allow Achievements to be unlocked by players. As on other gaming platforms, it encourages gamers to play the games to their fullest potential, as they yearn to gain all the achievements possible. These can be hidden or incremental, with a built in User Interface which allows for progress to be displayed. So Android gamers can revel in their own success, or form bitter rivalries with others.
Leaderboards are also integral to the new app, as comparing scores with friends allows for further comparison, alongside seeing their worldwide ranking. This was formerly done in-app, by integrating with Facebook or other networks, which can be a nuisance. Instead of this, Google+ will become the norm for all Android games. If this becomes the standard, then competition is in one single place, and creates a nice community of online challenge. These can be daily, weekly, or of all-time, which ensures players keep coming back to the games in question, to beat their friends, or some guy from Venezuela.
Another interesting function is the ability to save game data to the cloud. Game progress will be saved across all the Android devices a player has, with Cloud Save APIs synchronizing the data.
For the user, it will keep all your games in one place, creating a library, with much easier access to them than individually clicking the icons. These functions surely allow for better integration for individual apps, but also across apps.
Alongside this, recommended games can be suggested, based on the ones you own, and will bring light to new games that the public may not have considered. This brings about more awareness of smaller games, and should hopefully increase sales for the games that get swept under the radar. This will ensure quality Android games do not go unrecognised. Google Play Games should create a vast community of players, games, and should be able to bring games to the public’s attention much more easily than browsing the more generic app store.
This is very good news for mobile developers, as Google have stepped up the gaming capabilities of Android devices. With new Nexus hardware on the horizon, rumoured to be as powerful as the new iPhone 5S, Google seem set to match Apple on the gaming front.