The dream of every phone gamer and developer is about to come true as software developer Google confirmed on Monday that it is bringing iOS multiplayer support to Google Play Games.
The official announcement came during the kickoff of the much anticipated Games Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA today. GDC is the world’s largest — attracting 23,000 attendees’ annual — and longest-running professionals-only game industry event featuring lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions on a comprehensive selection of game development topics.
However, in a slip-up in a blog post last night, Google Play Games’ lead product manager Greg Hartrell said that by bringing turn-based and real-time multiplayer capabilities to both Android and iOS, Google was expanding their multiplayer to support iOS and to enhance their Google Play Game services.
He said to support cross-platform multiplayer services and development, Google would be updating their Play Games Unity Plug-in. Introduction of an early Play Games C++ SDK would also be done by the firm to support achievements and leader boards.
Additionally, a new feature called game gifts is also to be added to the Google Play Games. This feature would allow in-app gifts to be sent to friends by users. An option to invite other players to play multiplayer matches directly will also be added.
This is all good news for the developers of games as now it will be easier for them to produce cross-platform games that can target the iOS, Android and the web and thereby, create a better gaming experience for the users.
According to Hartrell, “flexibility is the name of the game for us.” “We’re interested in enhancing games and hoping that game developers have the flexibility to create the game designs they want,” he added.
Google also said that an enhanced Game Play statistics will be added to the developer console, which will provide easy game analytics for Play Games adopters. Google further said that to help visualize player and engagement statistics for all the signed in users, including daily active users, retention analysis and achievement, and leader board performance, developers will gain a daily dashboard to aid them.
Furthermore, its ad-focused Admob interface will be tweaked to include Google Analytics, which will help developers to make better targeted ads for in-app purchases. Google also said that 18 new categories for games have been added in the Google Play store.
However, that is not where all the good news ends. According to the new updates, support will also be offered for both the android and iOS platforms through a new achievement and leader board plugin. This basically means that now a gamer will be able to compare himself against a game’s mobile players entire population, instead of only on the platform he plays. This is the most significant promise among all the medley of enhancements coming to the gaming side of Google Play as this one directly involves the end users.
Explaining Google’s decision to add iOS multiplayer support to Google Play Games, Hartrell said “There’s a really simple principle here, a Google principle in a lot of ways, but we translate it into games — we want to make our services available to as many people as possible,” he said, adding that “Developers use other social network tools to build community… Google Play Games, at the end of the day, is a core gaming system that’s focused on games… We’re committed to having a service that more caters directly to developers.”
By Faryal Najeeb