Skip to main content

Google Play Games set to benefit from new features to be introduced at GDC

In advance of this week's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Google has tipped some new features for Google Play Games and other Google products.

The cross-platform game service and SDK, available for Android, iOS, and the web, now comes with game gifts, multiplayer invites, and almost 20 new game categories, among other perks.

"Today, everyone is a gamer," Google Play Games team member Greg Hartrell wrote in a blog post. "In fact, 3 in every 4 Android users are playing games, allowing developers to reach an unprecedented audience of players in an Android ecosystem that's activated over one billion devices."

In an effort to make sure those gamers get the most out of their applications, Google Play Games is expanding its engagement and discovery options to include virtual in-game objects gifted to other players, as well as support for multiplayer invitations.

Additional enhancements include multiplayer support for iOS users, as well as an update to the Play Games Unity plug-in, with support for cross-platform multiplayer services. Hartrell also teased an early Play Games C++ SDK for developers looking to integrate achievements and leaderboards into their apps.

"Of course, once you build a great gaming experience, it's important to get rewarded for your work," Hartrell said. "Which is why we'll also be introducing new features to the AdMob platform."

Google Analytics will now be directly available via the AdMob interface, making it easier to track user interaction with your app. And with the addition of in-app purchase ads, developers can target users with specific promotions.

The update comes shortly after Google was sued for not requiring a password for in-app purchases. Google then updated Google Play to make it harder for kids to rack up hundreds of pounds worth of micro-transaction purchases.

Most of the features Hartnell unveiled will become available today. GDC attendees will get a closer look at each new feature, and have the chance to chat with Googlers.

Those who can't make it to the sessions can watch the live stream on YouTube, starting at 17:00 (UK time) today.