Google Play to get gaming leaderboards, friend gifting, and more

Today kicks off the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where developers big and small show off new and innovative tech for gamers and developers alike. Google is at GDC, and has revealed a slew of new features for Google Play to help improve mobile gaming on Android phones, tablets, and everything else that runs it.

Google’s additions will help developers create better features for players. One of which is the introduction of a new gifting system, which allows players to send in-game objects to friends through a player search as well as to your friend’s Circle on Google Plus. This feature is much like how gifting items works on Facebook, though we hope it doesn’t get as annoying as Facebook can be with sending gifts to friends.

Another update that Google announced was an upgrade to its SDK, allow developers to add leaderboard and multiplayer functionality to their devices. While some games already have leaderboards, this SDK allows the leaderboard to be powered through Google Play and let friends to view your stats, much like Apple’s iOS Game Center. An update to the Unity platform for Google Play will bring multiplayer support to the mobile engine.

Lastly, Google also announced plans for new analytics integration for Google Play, allowing developers who use advertising in their apps to track performance more closely and offer targeted advertising that is much more accurate to the player’s interest. Though this isn’t exactly a perk for gamers (who likes advertising?), it does mean developers may create more free games in return for targeted advertising inside the app. We hate advertising, but it does power “free” things.

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