There comes a moment in the life of most pre-installed Google apps where they hit the big 1 billion installs mark. This is measure less of how many users have sought out the software on the Play Store and more the number of times people have set up devices in the years since the app became available. Though in the case of Google+, the latest app to reach this milestone, there are surely people out there who didn't get the software out of the box and decided they wanted in on the fun. What proportion they are, we do not know. Read More
Game developers integrating with Google Play Games have seen a lot of improvements since the service was launched a year and a half ago at Google I/O 2013. There have been a lot of refinements to the experience for both players and developers, and new tools have made many of the tedious and time consuming chores much easier. Google has just launched a new Play Games Publishing API inspired by a similar interface that was added to the Play Store earlier this year. There is also a new Leaderboard feature that should help to prevent falsified scores. Finally, the Unity Plugin and C++ SDK have been updated to support more devices and add additional features. Read More
If you fire up a game on Android with Play Games integration, you may notice something new. The level cap for those at the top of the XP heap has been raised to 25, and the icon border is blue. It used to be 20 with a pink border around the icon. That means you may be a whole five imaginary points better than your friends now.
Just like the new version of Google Play Movies & TV, the Google Play Games app sourced from the recent ADT-1 Android TV device update works fine on recent phones and tablets. There doesn't appear to be any huge functionality improvement in this release, it's merely a shiny new coat of paint. That being the case, it might be best to wait for the official phone/tablet update. If you don't want to wait that long, then have at it with the update below.
Brand New Icon And Material Design User Interface
In addition to a swanky new icon, the interface for the entire app has been re-skinned with Material Design guidelines. Read More
In the Android Police teardown of the latest Google Play Services support app posted yesterday, Cody Toombs noted that the "Nearby Players" feature we've been spotting for a few weeks seems ready to go. And lo and behold, several users have seen the feature become active on their phones, heading to Google+ and our own tips box to spread the joy around. Check your own app to see if it's enabled, though the distribution seems somewhat random - we're seeing reports from players in Mexico and Italy at the moment.
Screenshot credit: Omar Tosca
Nearby Players is exactly what it sounds like. Read More
Excitement over products like the Ouya, nVidia's Shield line, and even numerous gamepads proves that gaming on Android has entered the mainstream. Developers have been jumping at the opportunity to build games that work across many of the different operating systems; and thanks to the Cross-Platform SDK, they're able to integrate most of the Play Games services into their products on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Until now, this SDK has lagged behind the SDKs for Android and iOS on one specific feature: real-time multiplayer support. As of today, Google is rectifying this oversight and making a number of other improvements with updates to the Play Games SDKs, along with some new features in the Google Play Developer Console. Read More
Google's general intent with Google Play Games is simple. Google wants to provide a solid backend with common game features to developers who want to make more compelling games. Once developers integrate these features, Google's user base offers a cohesive score/competition experience.
Providing features like leaderboards and achievements, Google has managed to catch the interest of many game developers already, but we have reason to believe that Google will be peppering a few new features into Google Play Games some time soon, with an update to Google Play Services and the Google Play Games app.
Quests & Level Up Notifications
First, quests. Read More
Listen, EA, you're one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. It's not my place to tell you what to do, and far be it from me to say that you have to support Android's standard online and social gaming featureset in your games. But it would probably be a good idea. Case in point: the over-the-top basketball game NBA Jam. The title just got updated with Google Play Games support.
To be fair, the game came out way, way back in early 2012, more than a year before the Google Play Games system was implemented. But that still means that NBA Jam has been sitting on the Play Store for a year without Play Games. Read More
Google's gaming hub on Android is getting an update today with a few noteworthy tweaks, and as usual, we have an APK for you to download. You wouldn't want to look at your achievements in anything but the latest and greatest, right?
For over a few hours on Monday, several Google services came crashing to a halt. Users all over the world were unable to send messages via Hangouts, engage in video chats, or check Google Voice. Some people trying to create spreadsheets with Sheets were met with 502 errors, and people taking advantage of the multi-player aspect of Google Play Games were also affected. All of this apparently resulted from an oops during a routine hardware maintenance event where the company miscalculated available capacity.
During these maintenance events, Google redirects traffic away from certain backend servers to a new set while they perform their work. Read More