Google announced numerous updates to its Google Play Games service at the Game Developers Conference 2014, including improved and wider multiplayer support, a new gifting option, a new Play Games C++ SDK, 18 new game categories, new developers tools, and more.
To expand the "engagement and discovery options" in the Google Play Games service, the firm has introduced the 'game gifts' service, which enables gamers to send in-game objects to other players in their circles, or via player search. Further, the Play Games app now supports 'multiplayer invites' directly, allowing players to invite other players directly to multiplayer games.
The firm also announced Google Play Game services now supports multiplayer on iOS, bringing cross-platform turn-based and realtime multiplayer support for Android and iOS. Additionally, the 'Play Games Unity Plug-In' has been updated by Google to support the cross-platform multiplayer services.
Developers can also note that Google has released an 'early' Play Games C++ SDK, bringing support for achievements and leaderboards. Improved Play Games statistics are now also available on the Google Play Developer Console, showing active players, leaderboard performance and other insights to developers. "Developers will gain a daily dashboard that visualizes player and engagement statistics for signed in users, including daily active users, retention analysis and achievement, and leaderboard performance," stated the official Android Developers Blog.
For developers, Google Analytics has been made available via the AdMob interface. This will allow developers to see how users are interacting with their apps, letting them offer better optimization of in-app ads.