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Google’s game services API improves game dev

Courtesy Florence Ion, ArsTechnica

Google apparently realizes this since the company is making big strides to ensure that game developers are on board with its mobile ecosystem. It’s introduced a suite of APIs that will enable cloud saves, leaderboards, multiplayer game play, and achievements—all things that will benefit mobile gamers. “The opportunity that exists here is phenomenal for both developers and players looking for interesting and entertaining games,” said Greg Hartell, product manager for Google Play game services. “What it’s really about is creating a cross-platform environment that allows you to build a community of players across different screens.”

At first glance, Google’s Play game services appear to be a response to Apple’s Game Center functionality. On iOS the Game Center is featured as a standalone application for players to check on achievements and hook up with friends to play a game. Game Center is also integrated into the games that support it. The Play game services work similarly: users log in with their Google Plus account on the titles that support it.

As of its launch there are about 20 games that utilize the service, though only five were highlighted at the Google I/O keynote. They feature functionality like cloud save, which let users save their level progression and game state across different Play-compatible devices. There are also APIs for Achievements and Leaderboards, which can be limited to specific circles in Google Plus, and for multiplayer play, which will allow developers to leave the “heavy lifting” to Google. Multiplayer even comes with services like matchmaking, latency management, and other such back-end functions.

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