We speculated a short while ago about the impending introduction of some sort of gaming addition to Google’s array of services for Android. Frankly, it’s perhaps a little past due — while we can of course enjoy games from Google Play, there’s not been a service provided for playing against others, ala Game Centre on iOS. Rumours have been swirling that Google’s answer to this would be coming at Google IO, and now it looks almost certain.
The boffins over at Android Police have found a new copy of Google Play Services version 3.1.36 which is apparently in a rather slow roll-out to devices as we write this. The current version of Play Services, 3.0.27, is vastly different from this new version. For starters, 3.1.36 contains something like 700 entries in the embedded strings file, which indicates there’s basically a whole lot more stuff inside.
What we’re seeing is a whole heap of new features which are going to bring us a new service called, funnily enough, Google Play Games:
- Games will be able to send you requests and notifications, to improve play between devices.
- Features like scoreboards, achievements, and sharing these via Google+ for example, are included.
- Syncing save games between your own devices looks like it’s coming, but it’s not immediately clear how this will work. It looks like app makers will need to hook into the Google APIs to make it happen (but this will probably happen fairly quickly for popular titles).
- If you don’t have friends playing the games you like, you’ll be able to meet up with random players via a number of mechanisms. A gaming lobby of sorts appears to be included.
We can’t claim the exclusive on this, but as soon as we saw this, we thought we simply had to share it with you. For a full breakdown of everything included (basically, more detail to each item of the list above) head over to Android Police, and we’ll keep you posted with what more we see.