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.
Update Wednesday has begun! We're starting off with a pretty small bump for Google Play Games, taking it from v2.1 to v2.2. There aren't any big new features, but a few things have been polished up.
Like so many other Google apps, the first-run experience has been updated with a short introduction to explain what the app does and the value users can expect to get from it. Of course, this generally won't show up if Games has been in active use already.
It is apparently 'material all the things' day as Google keeps rolling out those updates. This time we've got a new version of Play Games, but unlike the last one we brought you, this is for all Android devices, not the version intended for Android TV.
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.