Google updates cross-platform Play Games service

The company is extending multiplayer support to iOS

Google has updated its cross-platform Play Games service, and promises it has more in store for this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

To underscore the importance of gaming on smartphones and tablets, Google said that three out of four Android users are playing games to some extent, allowing developers to reach an unprecedented audience of players on an OS that's activated on over one billion devices.

The goal with Play Games is to make it easier for developers to build multiplayer games and add features such as leaderboards to games that run on Android, iOS and the Web, instead of having to create completely separate versions for each platform.

To make Play Games more useful to developers, Google is adding a number of features, it said in a blog post on Monday. For example, game gifts is a new feature that, when implemented, lets gamers send virtual in-game objects to anyone in their circles or through player search.

To boost cross-platform functionality, Google is extending multiplayer features to include Apple's iOS. The Play Games Unity Plug-in has also been updated support cross-platform multiplayer functionality.

Developers will also get a daily report via the Play Developer Console, which includes statistics for gamers that have signed in, including number of active users, retention information and leaderboard performance, according to the blog post.

At GDC, Google will launch a number of features for Play Games and other products. As the upgrades become available over the coming weeks, these new services and tools will help developers take games to the next level, Google promised.

GDC runs Monday to Friday.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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