Google Play Games has supported online multiplayer for a while, but now it's even easier to play against your friends who happen to be within gloating distance. Play Games now includes support for multiplayer with people who are physically near you.
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.
If you thought (like me) that Update Wednesday had concluded, you thought wrong. It appears Google's also started pushing an update to Google Play Games, bringing the app up to version 2.0 with Level-up notification controls, XP rankings, and a few UI changes.
Readers may remember Quests and Level-up notifications from one of our exclusives last month. The functionality, along with Snapshots, was confirmed in the official announcement of Google Play Services 5.0.
Google announced Play Games at last year's I/O conference (hard to believe it's already been a year), and this year the company stepped it up a notch. They're integrating new features into the app, which includes a new Game Profile feature that exists and a sort of unified leaderboard with achievements and the like. Naturally, this lets users compare how they play with their friends. Nothing like a little competition, right?
Today the Google Play Games app has made the big jump from version 1.1 to 1.5, and there are quite a few new features tucked away inside that may cause you to hit its icon in your app tray a little bit more often. Let's dive in.
The previous version allowed you to join multiplayer games from within the app, but the latest update introduces the ability to view invitations as well.
You might not have noticed, but a fresh version of Google Play Services started silently rolling out a few days ago. Google I/O came and went without an Android version bump because Google wanted to send a message: Google Play Services is the single most important APK on your device. It was recently used to roll out Google Play Games, cloud app data storage, and the fused location provider.
Google officially announced the not-so-secretly-kept Play Games this morning, which brings game sync, leaderboards, achievements, and more to Android. Naturally, the first question on many users' minds is do any games already support it? In fact, several developers have already updated their games to add this new feature. Here's a look at what we've found so far:
- World of Goo by 2D BOY
- Osmos HD from Hemisphere Games
- Eufloria HD from Omni Systems
- Riptide GP from Vector Unit
- Beach Buggy Blitz from Vector Unit
- Shine Runner from Vector Unit
- Modern Combat 4 from Gameloft
- Dungeon Hunter 4 from Gameloft (update coming soon)
- Asphalt 7 from Gameloft (update coming soon)
- Eternity Warriors 2 by Glu
- PBA Bowling Challenge from Concrete Software
- Townsmen from HandyGames
- Save the Puppies from HandyGames
- Farm Invasion USA from HandyGames
- Rocket Island from HandyGames
- Triple Town by Spry Fox LLC (temporarily pulled due to crashes)
- Chip Chain by AppAbove Games LLC
- Super Stickman Golf 2 by Noodlecake
- Wind-up Knight by Robot Invader
- Plague Inc.
Remember how we told you Google Games was coming, and how it's going to pack multiplayer functionality, leaderboards, achievements, and stuff like that? That's happening. There are going to be cloud game saves too.
Fresh out of Google HQ, we've managed to score a copy of the new Google Play Services v3.1.36, which is very slowly rolling out to devices right now. For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27.