Google I/O 2013: “Google Play Game Services” and More New Services Unveiled!

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Google Vice President of Product Management, Hugo Barra, unveiled some exciting new services in his segment of the I/O keynote. In particular, he unveiled the much rumored Google Play Game Services. These New Google Play services and APIs will be rolling out today to all Android devices Froyo and up!

Barra began his presentation talking about some new Google Location APIs for developers: “Fused Location Provider” will use more sensors to increase location accuracy and reduce battery use; “Geo Fencing” creates  virtual perimeters for a real-world geographic areas; and Activity Recognition provides improved and richer recognition of activity and travel – be it by car, bike or on foot.

Next Barra talked about an improved Google plus sign in that lets you remain signed in across all your devices on any site or app that allows you to sign in with Google.  He went on to describe a major upgrade to Google Cloud Messaging that includes a persistent connection, upstream messaging, and notifications synchronized across all your devices (definitely the most exciting upgrade!).

Ok, let’s get onto the exciting stuff…. Google Play Game Services!!

Next Barra changed gears and launched into an in-depth look at the new Google Play Game Services, and he had a lot of very exciting features to announce. Basically, he confirmed just about everything from last weekend’s leak. So let’s break it down:

  • Cloud Saves: This is a much requested feature that would allow you to save across devices (and maintain your saves when you lose or upgrade your phone!).
  • APIs for Achievements: Like modern console games, Android game developers can now include achievements gamers can unlock in their titles. This allows for a unified ranking system leading to…
  • Leaderboards: Much Like Xbox Live, Steam, or the Playstation Network, there will be an online ranking using your circles, you can see your rankings worldwide and in your friend group.
  • Comprehensive Multiplayer Matching: This is another move that will bring droid gaming closer to its console counterparts. You can easily and quickly (at least in theory -more on that later) connect with friends or strangers for online play

Barra then proceeded to show off some of this “Low latency, real time synchronous gaming” with a demo of upcoming title Riptide 2, but sadly it was not meant to be. Classic demo fail, they gave it a few tries and moved on. Despite the hiccup, the matching system looked great and it will really help take Android gaming into the hardcore realm. It seems almost inevitable that every carefully planned trade presentation has a hiccup of this sort.

So very exciting news folks! Let us know what you think in the comments.

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