Google Play game developers and players alike are getting a quartet of game-changing additions today: real-time multiplayer, leaderboards, cloud saves and achievements. And that’s not all — the latter three services will function cross-platform between Android, iOS and the web. The whole initiative is called –unsurprisingly — “Google Play Game Services,” and it’s available today in a smattering of games. Unlike Apple’s Game Center application, what Google’s offering is backend support for developers rather than a standalone application. Think of it more like OpenFeint than Game Center — you can sign in using your Google+ login in-game, and that login will track your identity (including leaderboard scores, achievements and saves) across various games and devices.
A majority of the Android users will be able to employ the new additions to Google Play; not only is the functionality coming to everything running Froyo and up, but it’ll also work on any Android device running Google Play (Google TV and NVIDIA Shield, for instance). The one thing missing from the cross-platform party, however, is multiplayer. On Android, real-time competitive and cooperative multiplayer (voice chat, up to four players with additional support on the way) is available, but not on iOS or the web.
A handful of games are getting game services updates today, including Super Stickman Golf 2 and World of Goo, though we expect many more to pop up in the coming months.
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