Information picked out of an update to Android firmware Google Play Services gives some idea of how the tech giant plans to make its entry into gaming.
Google Play Services is a piece of system software in support of Google Play, the Android app marketplace. Having apparently obtained an early version of a Google Play Services update rolling out to devices this week, Android Police reports the update reveals the seeds of a service somewhat like iOS’s Game Centre.
According to the site, the Update brought an app called Play Games with a green controller icon. Accessing the app’s settings menu shows options for notifications from games. You’re also able to switch between accounts. Regrettably, Play Games looks to be managed via Google+, so if you want to invite your friends to a multiplayer match, you’ll sometimes have to log into the also-ran social network. Ugh.
The app doesn’t actually do anything else right now, as there are no compatible games as yet, but Android Police poked around in its code to find more information. It reports evidence suggesting the service will support cloud saves; invites; matchmaking; lobbies; achievements; leaderboards; and loads of Google+ integration.
All in all, it sounds quite similar to existing mobile platforms like Apple’s Game Centre or even Mobage.
Google recently hired a former LucasArts bigwig to head up a development studio, so it looks like it might produce a few games of its own for the service.
Android is rapidly gaining ground against iOS in the west, with many reports suggesting it is now outselling Apple’s smartphone platform, and thanks to cheaper models produced for Asian markets, looks set to reach 1 billion activations quite soon.