Back at I/O in May, Google announced a bunch of new tools for developers to improve the gaming experience for Andoid users. To build on top of that initiative, Google has announced today its new Google Play Games app, which is a central hub that allows you to track achievements, leaderboards, and the games that friends play
This new service, which Google Play Manager Ellie Powers said will “turbocharge” gaming with your Android device, is focused all around a new app called the Google Play Games “hub.” The app, which will come with the new Nexus 7 being launched Friday, is a sort of compliment to your tablet or phone’s gaming experience much like the Games app for Windows Phone & Windows 8 devices, and of course the iOS Game Center that comes with iPhones and iPads alike. Powers said that the app’s purpose is to combine the “two most important parts of gaming:” friends and games.
The Hub lets you manage achievements, leaderboards, and even begin multiplayer games with friends. The achievements feature lets you follow progress with achievements you and your friends have achieved in games using the new Google Play Games Service Google showed off at I/O. The leaderboards let you see how you stack up in your games against both friends and people all around the world. The Friends tab gives you the ability to see what games friends are playing, as well as to join in with them in multiplayer if the game supports it. The idea here is to bring all of the new features Google released for games under one roof
The new Google Play Games app accomplishes all this “friend” integration by using your Google Plus circles to see what your friends are up to. Sadly we don’t see any Facebook or Twitter integration at first glance, so it’s possible this could be possibly limited by how many of your friends use Google Plus. Hopefully now that most Google Accounts integrate with G+ this won’t be too large an obstacle.
Another feature announced is an update to Google Play that will allow you to sort through games that are made exclusively for tablets or have been redesigned to work perfectly on tablets. This was certainly a “better late than “never” feature upgrade for Google Play, as the iOS App Store could distinguish between iPhone and iPad apps since 2010.
They showcased new games including a remake of Prince of Persia 2, as well as a pair of racing games, Asphalt 8 and Riptide GP2, on land and water respectively. The games all offer fairly advanced graphics and were powered by Google’s new Nexus 7. We’ll have to see what the gamers think of the new Games app to know if this new app will fly or flop.