Google made several announcements leading in to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week, and most of them involved its Google Play Games services.
First, the company said that it’s extending multiplayer support to iOS, which means you can play games against folks and it won’t matter if they’re playing the game on iOS or Android, so long as multiplayer was built with Google Play Game services in mind. Additionally, Google is updating its Unity Plug-in and releasing an early Play Games C++ SDK so that developers can start to add in cross-platform support for leaderboards and achievements, the company said.
Second, Google said it’s adding a new feature that will allow you to invite other players directly from the Google Play Games application. The app is also going to offer 18 new categories, which should make discovery of new titles easier than ever. Also, you’ll be able to gift games to other players. Google didn’t say what, but noted that you’ll be able to pass “in-game objects to anyone in [your] circles or through player search.” You can see an example of the UI in the screenshot above.
Finally, Google addressed advertising for developers and said it’s also going to build Google Analytics directly into Admob, so developers can see real-time interactions at all times. Also, Google is rolling out support for in-app purchase ads, which lets you send advertisements for in-game items that your audience may want to purchase.
Google is clearly trying to amp up its Google Play Games service as much as possible, which is compelling since rumor has it Apple is considering shutting down its standalone Game Center application in iOS 8.