Google Play Games adding gift-giving, cross-platform multiplayer
A little under two weeks ago, as part of one of Google’s regular Wednesday app update binges, we saw a new version of Play Games arrive for Android users. While we learned of changes like improved leaderboards and some UI tweaks, the update seemed relatively minor – really, the only notable feature was to support invitations in multiplayer titles. Today, however, with the Game Developers Conference getting underway in San Francisco, Google shares some additional details of where Play Games is headed, and this news is quite a bit more substantial.
We get another mention of those new multiplayer invites, and also learn about game gifts. That doesn’t mean sending apps themselves to your friends as gifts, but instead heralds the arrival of a system for awarding in-game items to your friends – weapons, artifacts, that sort of stuff.
Developers will appreciate improvements to AdMob, integrating Google Analytics to offer feedback on how users are responding to ad content, but the biggest news here might be that concerning cross-platform multiplayer. Google’s updating the Play Games Unity plug-in to support such cross-platform interactions, and we specifically hear about efforts to bring compatible titles to iOS. Both turn-based as well as real-time multiplayer games will work across platforms.
Not all of this is coming to Play Games immediately, but the lion’s share of the new features should be in effect as of tomorrow.