by Brent Dirks
May 15, 2013
Better late than never, Google has just unveiled its answer to Apple’s Game Center. The new Google Play Game Services, announced today at the Google I/O conference, offers familiar features like achievements, leaderboards, multiplayer options, and cloud storage. But with a unique twist, Google will also offer tools for developers to add the services on iOS and Web games right along with Android. Google will provide a native iOS SDK for iPhone and iPad games. More information can be found here. As noted by Engadget, there are some differences between Google’s service and Game Center:
Unlike Apple's Game Center application, what Google's offering is backend support for developers rather than a standalone application. Think of it more like OpenFeint than Game Center -- you can sign in using your Google+ login in-game, and that login will track your identity (including leaderboard scores, achievements and saves) across various games and devices.Not surprisingly, the services also feature heavy integration with the troubled Google+ social network. Some Android games are already using the services. Some of the titles that should sound familiar to iOS users include World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos. I'm interested to see how iOS developers embrace Google's offering. While Game Center is far from perfect, any game worth playing on the iOS platform is integrated with Apple's offering. Hopefully Apple will continue to improve Game Center in iOS 7, which is widely expected to be previewed next month at WWDC 2013 in San Francisco.