Report: Google Play Games multiplayer platform update coming to Android

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is expanding its Android gaming efforts, introducing a series of multiplayer and social features to rival Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Game Center platform for iOS, Android Police reports.

The latest version of the Google Play Services APK (which contains the individual Google services and runs as a background service in the Android OS) contains new Google Play Games files referencing achievements, in-game chat, matchmaking and invites, leaderboards, as well as cloud save syncing and a green, game controller-shaped icon. According to Android Police, the multiplayer components integrate with the Google+ social media platform--what is not yet clear is whether individual games will handle client-side UI demands, or whether Google will release a dedicated Play Games client. "A lot of stuff doesn't work right now, so we're definitely missing some pieces," the report states.

Google has not responded to requests for comment.

Google Play Games will bring Android in line with iOS: Apple's Game Center, introduced in late 2010 with iOS version 4.2, allows users to challenge and play existing friends or match up automatically with new opponents, as well as showcase scores and achievements. Close to a year ago, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) also launched its own GameCircle for its Android-powered Kindle platform. GameCircle enables players to track trophies, treasures, high scores, badges and awards without exiting the gaming experience.

Google likely will announce the gaming initiative during its annual I/O developer event, kicking off May 15 in San Francisco. Google also is expected to unveil its latest Android OS overhaul, although it is unclear if the company will deliver the much-rumored Android 5.0, a.k.a. Key Lime Pie, or if it will instead roll out Android 4.3, nicknamed Jelly Bean like its immediate predecessors.

For more:
- read this Android Police article
- read this Verge article

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