Over the last several months, most of the changes to the Play Store have been on the smaller side, usually part of A/B tests to determine if individual tweaks to the interface would work better than others. An update began rolling out to users yesterday, bringing the current version up to 7.4. No significant changes seem to be turning up yet, but there are bits and pieces that hint at future plans. In this teardown, we'll be looking at a new version of the My Apps screen, statistics about reviews over recent history, remote authorization for family purchases, and even a strange requirement to install the Play Games app before taking some actions. Read More
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
Google launched YouTube Gaming a few weeks back, but you need lots of content to make that service work. Now you can easily record your Android games and upload them to YouTube with the Play Games app (which we spotted in a teardown). However, this feature is only coming to the US and UK for the time being. 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
Every couple of months the members of the exclusive billion installs club have to roll out the red carpet as they introduce another app into their ranks. This time, they're welcoming two. The likes of Gmail, Facebook, and WhatsApp now have to say hi to Play Games and Talkback.
Play Games (which only launched in 2013) isn't as old as other Play apps such as Music, Movies, and Newsstand —but that hasn't stopped it from beating all three to the one billion installs mark. Now, before anyone gets too excited, that doesn't mean a billion people have all gone out of their way to install the app. 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
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.
The account picker has also gone through some tweaks. To begin with, it now shows up on devices that have only been set up with one account. Read More