Gaming as a social activity has gone beyond simple multiplayer. Now it's all about leaderboards, achievements and other virtual accolades, even in games that have no direct multiplayer components. On iOS, Game Center provides that native layer to hook into these services and in a few days, Android will have its own offering, called "Play Games".
Ahead of its expected launch at Google I/O on May 15, Ron Amadeo over at Android Police managed to a get his hands on the latest version of the Google Play Services APK and pick it to pieces. According to Amadeo, the upgrade is slowly being rolled out so it should eventually make its way to all devices.
Perhaps the easiest way to nutshell the size of the update -- the number of strings (chunks of text) has increased 133 per cent, from 300 to 700. The version number has also clocked up a minor revision, going from 3.0.27 to 3.1.36.
Amadeo, looking inside the guts of the APK, noticed convincing evidence for the following features:
- Synced game saves
- Matchmaking services, including the ability to send invites
- Achievements and leaderboards, as well as plug-in functionality with Google+
While nothing is certain -- we're just looking at bits of text and Amadeo mentions several times that many of the features don't work -- it's a good bet these features will start working sooner rather than later, after which it'll be up to developers to hook into the API.
Hit up Android Police below for a comprehensive breakdown of the entire package, including screenshots, logos and other tidbits.