If you're an avid gamer on Android, get ready to see quite a bit fewer of those pesky Google+ sign-in prompts. Google is rearranging things a bit in the Games API to cut back on permission dialogs and authorization requests so users have an easier time getting straight into the action. The changes should also allow game developers to take advantage of Google's Games API and services like cloud sync without asking users to trust them with account details and potentially sensitive information.
With the new model, users will only be asked to sign in once per account—just to set it up—and every subsequent new game that runs can sign in automatically. Read More
After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
Building a good, profitable game these days is more challenging than ever. Players are more demanding, business models require more creativity (at least they should), and there are plenty of competitors that are just as desperate to hold the attention of players for as long as possible. Since users are all over the world and generally don't point a camera at themselves while they play, the hardest part is actually figuring out what works and doesn't work for them. Google Play Games is trying to help with that by launching some very informative tools that can help make player behavior a little easier to understand. Read More
Early this month, Google announced a major update to its Play services framework, which brings the version number up to 7.0 and adds several great new APIs. The SDK for this update was held back until the corresponding apk had time to make its way out to Android devices everywhere. The wait is now over, and the SDK is live. Developers are now free to incorporate all of the new APIs into their apps. For a quick summary of the new features in Play services 7.0, check out the DevBytes video below. Fair warning, the video is hosted by Magnus Hyttsen, so make sure you've had your morning coffee. Read More
The Android ecosystem –as most of us think of it– is built on more than just an operating system and a marketplace for independent apps. It's largely shaped by dozens of services that have been built by Google, allowing developers to add rich features to their apps without building out expensive infrastructures. The Google Play services package is the core element in this equation, and it's getting a pretty major update to version 7.0 over the next couple of weeks. Google just announced that it's about to give developers access to important new features including a Places API to get surrounding businesses and landmarks, and a new Nearby Connections API to make it easier for phones and tablets to act as a second screen to your Android TV. Read More
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