Google Play Games Gets Virtual Gifts, Cross-Platform iOS And Android Multiplayer Support

Google has announced some new updates for its Google Play Games cross-platform SDK for game devs, and they should make it a lot easier for developers working on titles aimed at iOS, Android and the web to build experiences that span all of the above.

First, Google has expanded its multiplayer support to include iOS, which means that turn-based and real-time combat and play can take place on both platforms now, and there’s also an updated Unity plug-in to go along with that. There’s also a new achievement and leaderboard plugin to support both platforms, meaning that you compare yourself against the entire population of a game’s mobile players, instead of just on one platform or the other.

New discovery options in the SDK make it possible for users to send in-game gifts to people in their networks, or to players they find via search, and you can invite people to play multiplayer matches directly now.

Google is also working on making it easier for developers to analyze, monetize and publicize their titles, with better analytics for Play Games on the Google Play Developer Console, that tracks and visualizes things like signed-in users, daily active users, player retention and leaderboard engagement. There’s deeper integration of Google Analytics into the AdMob platform, which Google says should help devs make better use of in-app purchase ads. Finally, there are 18 new categories for games in the Google Play Store, which should mean more visibility for a wider range of software.