September 17, 2014

Google Play Games gets new features at Google I/O

Google Play Games

Last year Google Play Games was announced at Google I/O and this year, just as expected, they touched on it a bit more and provided a few updates. The updates, or new features really, aren’t massive in amounts, but the couple Google has provided are definitely something to take note of for all of you gamers out there.

Google Play Games Users

First let’s talk about the amount of users that Google Play Games has since it was introduced a year ago. We all knew this would be pretty large because there are a TON of mobile users who play games on their devices, day in and day out. In just the past 6 months alone, Google Play Games has added 100 million new users to its database.

Now that figure is just over the past 6 months. You can only imagine how many users it has in total with the amount of games and developers putting games out there each and every day for our beloved Android devices. But 100 million in just 6 months is pretty amazing to me personally.

That may sound like big news, however, that wasn’t really the main focus. While Google is proud of that, no doubt, we all know they are proud of the new features and such they work hard at adding into their apps and services. And today Google didn’t fail us, just as we expected them not to.

Google Play Games Game Profile

Now, for you gamers out there, the big news is that you will now have a Game Profile. How this works is that it will change based on games you’re playing, in-game achievements and various other things. Unfortunately, Ellie Powers didn’t go into a lot of detail, but I’m sure as the next couple of days pass by we’ll get a bit more information on exactly how this will work and what we’ll see.

The other new feature that really sounds awesome is the introduction of Quests. How this works is that the game developer can add quests at any time for you, the gamer, to accomplish and to to gain special achievements. This is something they can do with the new API’s Google announced today allowing them to run online time-based events inside the games without requiring an update to be pushed out. This will be available to developers and gamers in the next update to Google Play Services and Google Play Games.

Google Play Games Quests

To me, the quests is a really cool thing and something that game developers could really capitalize on to make their games more interesting to play. They can entice people to accomplish certain things to boost their hit points, gold pieces, or anything similar that you might require within a game to improve your chance of continuing the play or even solving the game. Something I really look forward to and being one who doesn’t play a lot of games on mobile devices, this alone could entice me to play more.

There was also one other little feature Ellie mentioned, and that’s Saved Games. This will allow you to save all game state across all of your devices. And this is really huge because it’s frustrating to play on one device then pick up another and realize you have to start over or not from the exact place or time you left off.

As well, Saved Games will also tell you the amount of time in which you have spent playing a certain game that has the saved games feature when developers include it. It’ll show you a thumbnail or cover image of the game with a few stats. Something we’ve needed for a while.

The last little bit of news is for the developers themselves. They will be getting some classy new tools to play around with, which you know in turn means we’ll be seeing some cooler stuff game wise. They will be getting game stats that they can view which will help them look at different aspects of the game and see what’s working best for them, so they can improve their work from that.

They will also be getting a brand new C++ SDK, which is more for the coding side of things. And to top it all off, with the upcoming Android L Preview, which will be available tomorrow, games will also be able to support Open GL ES 3.1, the Android Extension Pack (for improved graphics), and a standard for gamepad controllers, such as Moga Controllers.

All in all, a great day for gamers and game developers at Google I/O today. Much rejoicing was done and it will continue as these new features and tools start to roll out. Unfortunately Google didn’t announce when we’d see the new Google Game Services update, but rest assured it won’t be long and game developers all over the world are already working hard to incorporate the new stuff into your favorite game as we speak.

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