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. 3.1 is a massive update - the strings file, for instance, has more than doubled from 300 to 700 entries. This is how Google is pushing out all the shared files for Google Play Games.

Those who have the new Play Services may have noticed some strange things going on in their sync settings, but that's boring, we'll talk about that later in Part 2. Check out what's on my phone right now:

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"Play Games" is a real thing - the settings app even works!

The drop-down menu will let you switch accounts, but, sadly, the Up button doesn't do anything for right now - it just closes the app. Play Games Settings allow you to turn on game notifications, manage who can send notifications, and show muted games.

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Who can send you notifications is, of course, managed by Google+. Pressing that button will bring up the usual circle dialog. All Play Games identity work will be done by Google+. Try and look surprised.

Google Play Services has tons of gaming-related activities that you can bring up with something like Nova Launcher, but nothing works other than the settings apps. These are all the real screenshots we can show you for today.

But that's never stopped us before! It's teardown time! Let's see what else is in here.


The little green controller on the left is called "ic_launcher_play_games.png" and it's the icon the activities use when you make a shortcut out of them. This icon only comes in this size, so I'm not sure if Play Games will actually have a standalone icon or not - there are normally much larger sizes.

At least, I can't tell from this app. There might be a fully-fledged Games client floating around out there that would have the correctly-sized icon files in it. This is probably the best evidence of that.

Synced Game Saves

The big thing everyone asked for after our initial discovery of Play Games was a save syncing feature, and we're happy to announce that there's some of evidence of that in the new Play Services app:

   <string name="games_sync_label">Game Data</string>

This bit of text will be a listing in your sync settings, along with Gmail, Calendar, and all of that other stuff.

The manifest also has a "games_sync_adapter," so this is definitely a real thing that is coming. The interesting thing is that it's not currently working right now, meaning, despite having this app, I don't have this in my sync settings. So we're missing some pieces.

Icon Badges


This microscopic green controller is called "ic_badge_play_powered.png" this will go in the lower right corner of an app icon, just like Open Feint used to do, to indicate that a game is Google-powered. Branding!

Matchmaking And Invites

Play Games will be handling invites and matchmaking, too. There are tons and tons of text for it:

<string name="games_select_players_title">Multiplayer match</string>
<string name="games_select_players_empty">No players found.</string>
<string name="games_select_players_cancel">CANCEL</string>
<string name="games_select_players_auto_pick_item_label">Auto-pick player</string>
<string name="games_select_players_auto_pick_chip_name">Auto-pick</string>
<string name="games_select_players_no_slots_remaining">No more slots</string>

Play Games can somehow "auto pick" players, which means you can manually pick them too. Presumably this would go down in a match-making lobby of some kind. There are limited slots to a game, we just don't know how many.


This is called "pict_auto_pick_player_default.png," which has something to do with auto picking players, I'm just not sure what.

<string name="games_waiting_room_room_status_inviting">Waiting for players</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_room_status_auto_matching">Waiting for auto-match</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_room_status_connecting">Connecting</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_room_status_active">Connected</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_menu_start_playing">Start playing</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_menu_leave_room">Leave room</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_prepare_to_play">Prepare to play</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_participant_status_invited">Invited</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_participant_status_joined">Invitation accepted</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_participant_status_declined">Invitation declined</string>
<string name="games_waiting_room_participant_status_left">Left the room</string>

Here's text for the match making rooms. Players can enter and leave rooms and invite other people to rooms. There are chat libraries in the Play Services APK, so there is some kind of chat, as well.

<string name="games_notification_match_title">New game invitation</string>
<string name="games_notification_invitation_ticker">New game invitation from %s</string>
<string name="games_notifications_new_player_butterbar_title">Review game notifications settings</string>

<string name="games_wide_tile_invitation_solo_description_format">Invites you to play %1$s</string>
<string name="games_wide_tile_invitation_solo_time_format">SENT %1$s</string>
<string name="games_wide_tile_invitation_solo_num_players_format">%1$d-PLAYER</string>
<string name="games_wide_tile_invitation_play">Play</string>
<string name="games_wide_tile_invitation_game_info">Game info</string>
<string name="games_wide_tile_invitation_decline">Decline</string>

<string name="games_invitation_list_null_state">You have no invitations.</string>

Game invites create system notifications, so you'll never miss a game. Apparently there will be a "Games Invitation list" somewhere, which will list pending games.



The thing on the left is called "bg_play_games_toast.9.png." This is Play Game's "Achievement Unlocked" popup. The white part stretches to fit the text.

On the right is "ic_achievement_unlocked_holo_light.png" which is probably part of some achievement list screen.

There are, of course, tons of strings:

<string name="games_achievement_list_title">Achievements</string>
<string name="games_achievement_empty">No achievements for this game.</string>
<string name="games_achievement_list_header_unlocked_format">%1$d/%2$d unlocked</string>
<string name="games_achievement_list_header_percentage_format">%1$d%%</string>
<string name="games_achievement_list_network_error">"Can't load achievements for this game. Check your connection and try again."</string>
<string name="games_achievement_list_generic_error">"Can't load achievements for this game. Try again later."</string>
<string name="games_achievement_hidden_name">Secret</string>
<string name="games_achievement_hidden_desc">Keep playing to learn more.</string>
<string name="games_percentage_format">%1$d%%</string>
<string name="games_achievement_popup_label">ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED</string>

Not too much to go over here - it's a pretty standard achievement system. There are achievement percentages, for "kill 10 of something"-style achievements, and undiscovered achievements can be kept secret to prevent spoilers.

Scoring and Leaderboards


The crown is "ic_leaderboard_holo_light.png," which would go on the leaderboard list, and the circles are "ic_medal_0#" (where # = 1-5) which are for placement at the end of a game, depending on how well you do.

Leaderboards has an insane amount of text, so I'll only post the important stuff:

    <string name="games_leaderboard_list_title">Leaderboards</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_timespan_menu_alltime">All Time</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_timespan_menu_weekly">This Week</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_timespan_menu_daily">Today</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_menu_reset_top_scores">Show top scores</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_menu_reset_player_centered_scores">Show player-centered scores</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_subtitle_alltime">Leaderboard</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_subtitle_weekly">"This week's leaderboard"</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_subtitle_daily">"Today's leaderboard"</string>

Leaderboards by time - choose this week, all time, or today. You can also show "player-centered" scores so you can find where you are on the boards.

   <string name="games_leaderboard_public_null_state">"Unbelievable! There are no public high scores for this game. Play now and be the very first in the universe on the leaderboard!"</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_public_tab">PUBLIC</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_social_tab">MY CIRCLES</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_percentile_label">IN TOP</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_player_count_large_number_format">%1$s+</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_rank_header_ordinal">"I'M %1$s"</string>
    <string name="games_leaderboard_rank_header_percentile">"I'M IN TOP %1$s%%"</string>

Leaderboards plug into G+ and can be non-public. You can also filter the leaderboard by people in your circles. It will also show you what percentile you're in.

<string name="games_leaderboard_social_null_state_alltime_format">"No one in your circles has played %s.Tell others about this game and compare scores when they play."</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_social_null_state_weekly_format">"No one in your circles has played %s this week. Tell others about this game and compare scores when they play."</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_social_null_state_daily_format">"No one in your circles has played %s today. Tell others about this game and compare scores when they play."</string>

<string name="games_leaderboard_null_state_share_on_gplus">Share on Google+</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_null_state_share_subject">Check out \"%1$s\"</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_null_state_share_body_format">"I'm playing %1$s. Can you beat my high score?%2$s"</string>

There's lots of pushing people to Google+, and offering to brag about a score on Google+. You can also share a score to Google+. Google+.

<string name="games_leaderboard_butterbar_non_public_pacl_title">"I don't have a public rank"</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_butterbar_non_public_pacl_info">"Other players can't see your score. To make it public, change your game activity setting to Public."</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_butterbar_pacl_wait_title">"Why can't I see my score?"</string>
<string name="games_leaderboard_butterbar_pacl_wait_info">Ranks are updated every 24 hours. Check back later to see your score.</string>

Ranks are calculated every 24 hours, and your score can be completely private if you want.


Whew, I'm exhausted. So, to recap, all the stuff we told you about a month ago is right, but now you sort-of know what it's going to look like. To add to the matchmaking, in-game chat, achievements, leaderboards, invitations, and lobbies, we now know about icon badges and, best of all, cloud game saves!

The big question I have right now is, "is this all there is"? Will games handle all the client-side UI stuff that isn't here, or will we see a central game app come out of Google? A lot of stuff doesn't work right now, so we're definitely missing some pieces, I'm just not sure if that's a server thing somewhere, a central Play Games client, another Play Services update, or up to game developers. We'll have to see at I/O.

Oh, and by the way, this is only part 1 for this Google Play Services teardown. There is even more stuff in it to investigate. Part 2 (the last part) will include all the non-gaming stuff, some of which is very puzzling. For now though, just enjoy this.

APK Teardown will return.

Thanks to Marco Duran for the file and Ricky Grundy for the tip!