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Google Play Game Services Adds Multiplayer, Google+ Leaderboards

SAN FRANCISCO -- With quad-core phones commonplace and dedicated gaming systems like Nvidia Shield on the way, Android is already a serious gaming platform. Today Google kicked it up a notch, announcing Google Play Game Services, a series of APIs that enable even more powerful gaming experiences. At the Google I/O conference, VP of Android Product Management Hugo Barra unveiled APIs for Cloud Saving, Achievements, Leaderboards and Multiplayer functionality.

By implementing Cloud Save in their games, developers will empower users to save their place to the cloud. So if you reach level 5 of a game on your phone and then switch to your tablet, you'll be able to resume at that level.

Games that use these new APIs will also allow you to show your achievements on Google+ and see how you stack up both to other users and to your friends. So if you've earned a high score in "World of Goo," you can see whether you rank higher than people in your circles and talk trash. 

Perhaps the most important of these new APIs is the one that enables multiplayer. This new functionality will not only make it easy for developers to create multiplayer games, but also to match competitors against each other using their Google+ profiles.

During the presentation, Barra and some of his colleagues tried to demonstrate "Riptide 2," an upcoming multiplayer version of the popular Jet Ski racing game, but the demo failed due to network issues. However, he said that a number of game developers are already implementing multiplayer features. We look forward to seeing Android multiplayer in action soon.