Google Play Games is finally removing the forced Google+ login from its service, and plans to give new players full access to the service’s features without a Google account.
New players will sign up with a player ID account, while older users keep their Google+ account for signing into Play Games. The new player ID will also automatically log into any new games you download on a device, instead of forcing you to type your account information into every new game. The feature can be disabled if need be in settings.
The Play Games developer team claims the change will “reduce sign-in friction and unnecessary permission requests for players.” It states that the update will not affect the vast majority of games, and users shouldn’t see any differences.
There is no specific launch date for the new Play Games service, but the team said it should arrive sometime in 2016. If you haven’t used Play Games before, perhaps wait for a few months more before signing up.
Play Games follows in the footsteps of several other Google services that are parting ways with Google+. The social network has failed to establish itself as a competitor to Facebook and Twitter. Even though it managed to accrue more than 500 million users by 2012, most were forced into signing up because of integration on other services.
Gmail was one of the first major services to remove forced integration, followed by YouTube in the middle of last year. Later in the year, Google created a standalone Photos app, which has become quite popular since it launched.
The future for Google+ is uncertain, but in a TechCrunch interview, multiple Googlers allude to a bright future for the social network, with features like Communities, Collections, and sharing all seeing a lot of interest.