New gaming service announced for Google Play; brings achievements and Google+ leaderboards

By Joe Jasko |

Google has announced today at their Google I/O event that the company’s Google Play marketplace for Android devices will be receiving a full-blown gaming service update, in the vein of Apple’s Game Center and Amazon’s GameCircle.

Among the many cross-platform features that will be included in the new Google Play gaming service are the ability to save games via a server in the cloud, and a brand new achievement system for the overall platform. Real-time matchmaking is also said to be included in the service, but that one will remain exclusive to Android devices for the time being. Powered by the Google+ social network to establish player leaderboards, developers will be able to add the new service functionality to past titles of up to three years old, and possibly even older.

In speaking with Polygon at today’s event, lead project manager for the new Google Play gaming service, Greg Hartrell, shed some light on Google’s strategy with the upcoming new features. “It’s user-focused in the sense that we’re trying to reach out to the largest number of users,” Hartrell told them. “And for developers, they want to maximize the size of the audience and the quality of the audience. Both of those things drove that decision.”

While it might seem that Google is certainly behind the pack when compared to Apple’s well-established Game Center service, Hartrell went on to explain how everyone at Google feels the timing couldn’t be more right for the powerhouse tech company, and how they are already looking towards the long future of mobile gaming on Google Play. So don’t be surprised if we’ll be able to check our Google+ leaderboards using Google Glasses one day!

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