Google has announced a series of new tools and functionalities which include virtual ‘game gifts’, multiplayer options, and cross-platform multiplayer iOS support.

Google Play Games expands multiplayer support to include iOS


In the gaming world, Google’s Android mobile platform takes second place after Apple’s iOSwith games developers, which means that games are always launched on Android with some delay after iOS. However, Android is now starting to catch up due to Google’s efforts over the last year to supply developers with the Software Development Kit (SDK) they need to improve the user experience. Since then Google Play Games has been the fastest growing online games network of all time. Google claims that three quarters of Android users now play games on their device – a huge number of people, given that Google passed the one billion total activation mark for Android terminals last September. In addition, gaming dominates the mobile app ecosystem on Android, which is why Google wants to give its games developers a head start on the competition. During the Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco, Google announced a series of new tools and functionality to help developers attract new users and get a payback on their titles. Among the new functionality there are ‘game gifts’, multiplayer options, and cross-platform multiplayer iOS support.

Widening the gaming network

Google has announced that new options in the SDK now make it possible for users to send in-game gifts – objects or virtual money – to people in their networks, players they find via search, in factjust about anybody. The multi-player functionality means you can now invite people to play multiplayer, turn-based matches directly online, using the Play Games application. Multiplayer support has been widened to include the iOS mobile operating system in order to increase the options for multi-players in real time, as play can now take place across both Android and iOS platforms. There is also an updated achievement/leaderboard plug-in for the cross-platform game engine, which means that each user can compare him/herself with all the other mobile players of a game. Google has also announced the launch of an SDK for Play Games C++, a programming language for general usage, in free, library-based format) to support in-game rankings and evaluations.

Central web platform

Google is also working on making it easier for developers to analyze, monetize and publicize their titles, with the planned forthcoming launch of better analytics for Play Games on the Google Play Developper Console. Developers will have access to a daily dashboard that tracks and visualizes factors such as signed-in users and how much they engage, daily active users, player retention and leaderboard engagement. The Google Play Store is also introducing eighteen new game categories in order to raise the profile of a large number of titles. This range of functionality will be rolled out gradually, in an order not yet announced, from March 18. In fact Google’s approach to mobile games is in line with its overall Internet strategy. The company wants a central platform for discovery, interaction, development and monetization.Google hopes the reach of its mobile games range will not be limited just to Android devices, and the Internet giant is therefore now reaching out strongly to iOS players and developers.

By Manon Garnier