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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