Google's Xbox Live competitor for Android discovered in new update


Google Play Games will likely feature cross-game notifications and Google+ integration when it's released.

Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system doesn't have many clear-cut advantages over Google's Android, but Xbox Live has been one obvious advantage since the smartphone operating system launched more than two years ago. That may be changing soon, however.

An APK update containing references to achievements, leaderboards, cross-game notifications, multiplayer functionality and more was discovered by Android Police, and the site has since torn it apart to learn its secrets.  The updated APK, Google's Play Service 3.1.36, references parts of a new service called "Google Play Games," according to Android Police. Many of the components discovered in the APK don't work completely yet, but they do give hints as to what the service will be capable of.

The service appears to be integrated with Google's social network, Google+, which may turn many users off to the experience given the network's lack of sustained popularity. It's a somewhat odd move, but not entirely unexpected, as Google has increasingly steered its users toward the social network in the past year.

Evidence of cloud storage for game saves was discovered in the APK, though some pieces of the service appear missing, the Android Police report states.

Android leads smartphone operating systems in many feature categories, but gaming has been a category where the platform has lagged behind. Windows Phone 7 included Xbox Live support when it launched in late 2010, and Apple updated its iOS platform the same year to include GameCenter after Microsoft announced its overhauled smartphone operating system.

Google has yet to hint at a gaming service for its Android platform, though it's likely an announcement will be made in the coming weeks given that the company is already publicly installing features for the service's arrival.

Source: Android Police | Image via Android Police

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Evidence of cloud storage for game saves was discovered in the APK

This would be great. I often find it frustrating that my games aren't saved if I decide to wipe my phone. Although some offer Facebook integration which does sync things, it would be nice for something natively.

Having said that, it would help if the settings backup service actually worked. When I wiped my phone and reconnected it to my Google account, it thought it was a different phone and didn't restore my settings.

Also I guess it depends on the developers of the games to offer integration with this new feature too...

techbeck said,
How is this meant to compete with XBOX? Totally different services. But ok...

It's a blatant rip of many of the features of XBox found on mobile...

M_Lyons10 said,

It's a blatant rip of many of the features of XBox found on mobile...

Does not make it a competitor. XBOX and Android games are not even in the same league.

Well, that was predictable in some way.

Apple did it with its Game Center.
Now, Google is giving it a shot.

Better no standing still too long Microsoft.

TheCyberKnight said,
Well, that was predictable in some way.

Apple did it with its Game Center.
Now, Google is giving it a shot.

Better no standing still too long Microsoft.

I think you will find Microsoft did this back in 2002, Google is just playing catch up.

Mm.. this is probably gonna end up more like Apple's Game Center than Xbox Live (as in, it's there but does anyone really care?).

epk said,
Mm.. this is probably gonna end up more like Apple's Game Center than Xbox Live (as in, it's there but does anyone really care?).

Agreed. Nothing they do CAN compete with a real gaming platform like XBox...

No dude, Google force you to use Google + whenever you are doing anything. Sure you may not be actively using the service but in the eyes of web data- you are.

NesTle said,
"The service appears to be integrated with Google's social network, Google+, which may turn many users off to the experience given the network's lack of sustained popularity."

you really have been livin' under a rock lately?

http://marketingland.com/repor...ial-network-worldwide-31908


Do you classify an "active user" as someone who doesn't even use the Google+ social network? If so, you're using Google's definition of an active user -- a definition pretty much no one else on the planet would use.

See: http://marketingland.com/google-hits-135-million-users-27904

Anthony Tosie said,

Do you classify an "active user" as someone who doesn't even use the Google+ social network? If so, you're using Google's definition of an active user -- a definition pretty much no one else on the planet would use.

See: http://marketingland.com/google-hits-135-million-users-27904


Exactly. Not to mention the basically forced companies to get Google + accounts if they want to show up in local search, also inflating the numbers...

Who needs a gaming service? Ridiculous. All that is necessary is to have games, and Android almost definitely has more than Windows Phone and possibly more than iCrap. Lagged behind in gaming, my ass. Now, most of the games available are not the kinds of games I play regularly. I probably have 30 games between my Windows Phone and my Nook HD+ and I rarely play any of them, because when I want to play games and have the time to do so I'd rather play "real" games on my PC, but that's a limitation of the hardware more than anything. I'm sure eventually phones/tablets/whateverhandheldcrapthefuturebrings will have graphics capabilities comparable to my desktop, and then, well, that's when the desktop will truly die. As it is now, though, services like Onlive almost can convince you that you own a portable gaming system. In the meantime, Google can release their crappy gaming service if they want to; I'll just ignore it the same way I ignore Xbox Live and its Windows 8 and Windows Phone equivalents.

Don't underestimate the value of achievements and gamerscore (or equivalents). People really like and want this (as you can see for XBOX Live), so that's a reasonable move by Google.

I'm not saying it's not "reasonable'. Even Steam added that crap in to make the majority happy. At the least it was probably expected to happen eventually. I'm just saying that Android hasn't even been close to falling behind in gaming because they lack this unnecessary crap.

Darrian said,
I'm not saying it's not "reasonable'. Even Steam added that crap in to make the majority happy. At the least it was probably expected to happen eventually. I'm just saying that Android hasn't even been close to falling behind in gaming because they lack this unnecessary crap.

Google's offerings can't even be compared to those of a real gaming solution like XBox...

And neither can Windows Phone or iPhone, which is why Google is not falling behind its competitors in gaming and why nobody should care if it adds gaming achievements to its social networking.

Lol, Xbox LIVE will always be better than any competitors products. Kind of sad that Google have got away without having any gaming service for this long though! Will be sure to check in out and it better not shove Google + down my throat.

TheLegendOfMart said,
If you like paying to have everything worth having locked up behind a paywall that bombards you with adverts.

+1 HaHa

TheLegendOfMart said,
If you like paying to have everything worth having locked up behind a paywall that bombards you with adverts.

There are no advert on LIVE integration for WP nor do you pay any money for the service. Your argument is invalid.

TheLegendOfMart said,
If you like paying to have everything worth having locked up behind a paywall that bombards you with adverts.

Xbox live is good. I paid for it. 1 year subscription. You got a problem with that mart? If no then why are you talking about it?

It's just another area where Google are copying MS. It's literally all they do, think of all the products and services that Google copy from MS. They are the most unoriginal company but act like they're new and innovative.

ingramator said,

There are no advert on LIVE integration for WP nor do you pay any money for the service. Your argument is invalid.


Exactly, and on the console it's certainly worth the nominal fee each year...

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
It's just another area where Google are copying MS. It's literally all they do, think of all the products and services that Google copy from MS. They are the most unoriginal company but act like they're new and innovative.

Indeed. It's laughable. They don't even try...

ingramator said,

There are no advert on LIVE integration for WP nor do you pay any money for the service. Your argument is invalid.


What about on the XBOX version of Xbox live?