Updates to the Play Games app aren't as free flowing as they are for many of Google's other apps, but they often do bring pretty big changes or additions. The latest version bump gives Play Games a huge visual makeover that looks cleaner and puts installed games front and center. There are also three included mini-games to play if you get bored and don't have something else installed yet.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Visual redesign
  • Mini-games: Solitaire, PAC-MAN, and Cricket

Note: Many people have reported the changes are not appearing for them after updating. This may be a staged rollout from Google. You may also want to try force closing Play Games and clearing its cache.

Visual update

Things are looking pretty different in the new version of Play Games. Instead of opening directly to your player stats, You'll now find a carousel of installed games. The list is sorted by how recently each game was played so your favorite games should always be at the front of the list.

At the bottom of the screen is a slide-up drawer for your library that opens to show a conventional list of your installed games followed by a list of games on your Play Store account that aren't currently installed.

Left: v5.2. Right: v5.3.

Aside from the Settings screen, which only got some very minor touch ups, most of the screens have been given a significant redesign. Most of the content has been reorganized the card style look from the mid-KitKat era appears to be completely gone in favor of a flat interface with simple divider lines.

Left: v5.2. Right: v5.3.

Recording capabilities are still here and the setup process hasn't changed, but the recording button has been moved up to the action bar and switched to a video camera icon.

Left: v5.2. Right: v5.3.

It looks like a lot of the social features are either missing or incomplete. I can't find a way to follow new players or get a complete list of the players you're connected to. The only way I've seen to reach the versus screen (shown above) for a player is to open a game page and look at the list of up to four players that also play that game.

The new interface also seems weaker at game discovery. There's no section for recommended games, and the only place that shows games you don't already own is further down on the versus screen where you can see the games other players have. Game search is also missing. Recommendations and search can be done in the Play Store, so we can live without having them here, but it's still odd that they're missing.

Mini-games

Three mini-games are included in this update: Solitaire, Cricket, and PAC-MAN. Each is a convenient way to waste time if you don't have any other games installed.

Before the outrage takes over, bear in mind that the size of the Play Games apk actually went down with this version as a result of many other resources being optimized or removed.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Version: 5.3.98

Google Play Games
Google Play Games
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free