Riptide GP 2 Preview Shows Android's New Multiplayer Mode

Challenging fellow gamers to a race, fight or anything else just got easier with Google Play Game Services. The new multiplayer functionality available for Android was on full display here at Google I/O, where we went hands-on with the feature inside the upcoming Riptide GP 2. 

The racing game includes a multiplayer option right up front that you can select, and from there you can choose which one of your friends you'd like to invite. Your friend should then receive an invitation as a notification. If they happen to be playing the same game at the time, the other Riptide GP 2 player can tap Multiplayer and then view invitations. 

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At least here on the Google I/O show floor, synchronizing the two gaming sessions and starting a new race took only a few seconds. Once the race began, we could see the other person on the track represented as a red triangle. After the race was over, we could restart the match without having to go through the invite process again.

In order for Android gaming to take off, it will need to offer all the functionality of iOS' Game Center and then some, but Riptide GP 2 demonstrates that the new Google Play Game Services is off to a good start. If developers implement the new APIs in their games, you'll also be able to check out your achievements and how you stack up against other players and Google Plus friends. 

The other neat feature of Google Play Game Services is that you can pick up where you left off either on your smartphone or another device like a tablet. In our Riptide GP 2 demo, we used a Nexus 10 tablet and the Nvidia Shield mobile gaming device. We expect a lot more multiplayer-friendly games to debut this summer.

Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.