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Google Play Games Leaks Ahead of I/O 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the jumping-in-with-both-feet dept.
Android Police reports on an information leak out of Google in the lead-up to their I/O conference, which starts on May 15th. A new version of Google Play Services contains information about "Google Play Games," the company's long anticipated unified gaming service. The leak shows support for saved game syncing, matchmaking, notifications, game invites, achievements, leaderboards, and integration with other Google services. "Who can send you notifications is, of course, managed by Google+. Pressing that button will bring up the usual circle dialog. All Play Games identity work will be done by Google+. Try and look surprised. ... Play Games can somehow "auto pick" players, which means you can manually pick them too. Presumably this would go down in a match-making lobby of some kind. There are limited slots to a game, we just don't know how many. ... Leaderboards by time - choose this week, all time, or today. You can also show "player-centered" scores so you can find where you are on the boards. Leaderboards plug into G+ and can be non-public. You can also filter the leaderboard by people in your circles. It will also show you what percentile you're in.
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Google Play Games Leaks Ahead of I/O

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  • Presumably (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Macfox (50100) * on Sunday May 12, 2013 @08:40AM (#43701451) Homepage

    A lot of assumptions based on a few strings. Don't worry, plenty of surprises left for IO.

    • Re:Presumably (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, 2013 @08:57AM (#43701545)
      Uh, did you even bother to read the article? It's a lot more than "a few strings". Course, seeing that for yourself might have interfered with getting first post.
    • Like, surprise the Google development community leaders weren't given the opportunity to buy advanced tickets to I/O this year, and essentially left in the cold. Being the types that typically attend and echo things back into their local community in terms of demos and hackathons... but hey, it's not like companies like Google need a community behind them... get social, without the social.
  • Kind of sounds like a database with a proprietary web API controlling access. Quite impressive what's being done these days.

    • But now it's open source and its in the cloud

      Big difference

  • Welcome to 1983 [wikipedia.org].
    • You echo the arguments that CronoCloud used to make about the benefit of an entry barrier [slashdot.org]. In 1983, video game sales depended on physical shelf space and reviews in paper magazines. Three decades later, shelf space has since become far less constrained by the physical size of a retail store, reviews are available without charge through the web, and a growing number of games on Google Play Store have demos available without charge, as will all Ouya games.
  • by bazmail (764941) on Sunday May 12, 2013 @09:16AM (#43701619)
    "Leak" is the new press release guys. Gives the story legs as people think they are learning something illicit. We all know that right?
    • So true, so true. In addition to "leak", other terms that have lost original meaning are "hacker", "zero-day" and "bricked". Anyone got any more?

      And somewhat on topic, it's pretty pathetic how Google is "forcing" users to join Google+ to use an increasing number of their services. I loaded an app on my S3 from Play last week which caused it to go into a reboot loop. Figuring I'd write a review warning others about this issue, I was "forced" (yeah, I know) to join Google+ just to leave a review on Google
      • by durnurd (967847)
        They don't need access to your contacts and call logs, but that permission is the same that allows them to retrieve an ID unique to your device in the form of your IMEI/MEID. There are better ways to do this, even ones that don't even require any permissions. Most companies still do it this way either for backwards compatibility (from when the other better ways were either non-existent or were not completely unique) or because of third-party libraries that require it for similar reasons. Usually this mea
        • The IMEI permission is the same as the permission to tell whether the user is on a call. On Android, if an application is playing audio, it's polite to pause the application when the phone rings. There's supposed to be another way to duck out of the way of a phone call, called audio focus [android.com], and I'm not sure why more other applications don't use it.
      • can anyone recommend an app that denies (per app) access to various Android facilities (contacts, dialer, etc) that works w/Android 4.1+?

        I can recommend a few: Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and F-Droid. A growing number of applications have descriptions that explain what they use the permissions for. If you don't buy the rationale, you can always cancel installation.

        • I only use Google Play Store, and I'm aware I can cancel an installation. Yet most apps have unreasonable access to various facilities IME. If I cancelled the installs, I'd be left with basically nothing. Thanks anyways...
        • by node 3 (115640)

          can anyone recommend an app that denies (per app) access to various Android facilities (contacts, dialer, etc) that works w/Android 4.1+?

          I can recommend a few: Google Play Store, Amazon Appstore, and F-Droid. A growing number of applications have descriptions that explain what they use the permissions for. If you don't buy the rationale, you can always cancel installation.

          You clearly misunderstood the question. On iOS, you can buy, install, and run any app that wants permissions that you might not like, and deny those permissions at run time (or even afterwards in iOS's Settings app). On Android, you can only just do as you suggest, which is not install the app at all, unless you root your phone and rely on a set of hacks which require significantly more effort to keep up with than on iOS.

          Though now that I think about it, I might be wrong. I don't think you misunderstood the

      • can anyone recommend an app that denies (per app) access to various Android facilities (contacts, dialer, etc) that works w/Android 4.1+? (Why do so many basic apps, like for example a flashlight (I'm making this example up) need access to my contacts and call logs? )

        If your phone is rooted you can use LBE https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lbe.security.lite [google.com] It worked fine for me on my rooted HTC Sensation running ICS, but looking at the current reviews there may be a problem on JB leading to boot loops.

  • by Piata (927858) on Sunday May 12, 2013 @09:28AM (#43701663)

    For years I've been hearing about how tablets and phones are going to eat the Nintendo's handhelds for lunch. I got my first smartphone 6 months ago (yes I'm a little late to the party) and I was suprised by how horrible mobile games are. I've tried a bunch (Simpson's Tapped Out, Super MAMC, Angry Birds Star Wars, Pudding Monster and TripleTown) and all of them either feel like Flash games from the 90's or Facebook games that want to nickle and dime you for everything.

    It's great that Google has a "Google Play Games" service coming out but what's the point when the games themselves aren't worth playing?

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      ... in most cases, when they have a better interface (hard buttons, etc). There's a few attempts at this right now with Ouya and a few others taking the lead.

    • by Rob_Bryerton (606093) on Sunday May 12, 2013 @09:58AM (#43701759) Homepage
      A couple of observations: most people seem to use mobile gaming as a time waster (say, waiting for a bus or an appointment) rather than playing the game for the sake of, well, gaming. Another thing is that now that smartphones are pretty much a mainstream item, it only follows that the games will cater to a broad as audience as possible: in other words, mostly watered down junk. And third, seeing as these devices use the touchscreen for the controls, it really limits the types of games that can realistically be deployed.

      I've read that Android supports Bluetooth controllers such as the PS3 controller, but it can be hit or miss which games themselves support this input method. Add to this the fact that its not too convenient to carry a controller around everywhere, and you have the state of the games as we see them today.

      Hopefully now that there are some Android console type devices on the horizon, there will be more games released which take advantage of external controller input, enabling the release of more complex game types. It remains to be seen how much these devices will sell. If they sell well, then I think more developers will take notice and not only enable alternative input devices in their wares to broaden their appeal, but also consider porting more complex games to Android.
    • I can take my phone into the bathroom at work and sit on the toilet for 30min without my boss giving me a hard time. Try doing that with a NintendoDS 4D ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (or whatever they are called now)

      • by fostware (551290)

        Toss up between "urgh! TMI!!!" and "ooh, chance to quote 'Family Guy' " aaaaand...

        "Stop Smiling. 90% of the people playing this [Angry Birds] are pooping."

      • by Merk42 (1906718)

        Try doing that with a NintendoDS 4D ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha (or whatever they are called now)

        I know right? They added one character to the name of the handheld and now it's soo hard to get right. Could you imagine if phones did that with later versions of their devices???

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I was suprised by how horrible mobile games are. I've tried a bunch (Simpson's Tapped Out, Super MAMC, Angry Birds Star Wars, Pudding Monster and TripleTown) and all of them either feel like Flash games from the 90's

      Why are you so surprised?

      They are flash games from the 90's except they can charge you $5 for them because they are on a tablet.

      If there was a decent working version of flash on tablets, the market for these games will be killed in an instant.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      For years I've been hearing about how tablets and phones are going to eat the Nintendo's handhelds for lunch.
      ...
      It's great that Google has a "Google Play Games" service coming out but what's the point when the games themselves aren't worth playing?

      There's no polite way to put this, but it's not "tablets and phones" that are dominating the handheld gaming market, it's iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. Android gaming lags iOS gaming by a wide margin at the moment.

      That's not to say there aren't some great games on Android, just that if you want to see the best representation of mobile (tablet/phone) gaming, you'll need to look at the other OS.

      There's still quite a bit of value in dedicated gaming hardware, like the 3DS. Primarily, the physical buttons.

  • Not sure I really want to use my own name for gaming if we're doing random match making.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'm sure I want people to use their own names for gaming if we're doing random matching. Accountability.

      • Mod parent up. So many times I've done a drive-by asshole post here, and then been so ashamed of it that I would avoid /. for weeks. I'm really trying to stop this G.I.F.T. type behavior, and this username is a big motivator. (BTW, what was I thinking when I signed up?)

        My favorite, describing this phenomenon: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19 [penny-arcade.com]
        More in depth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect [wikipedia.org]

        -Rob
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Thats good for you, but I play games to ESCAPE the consequences of real life. And I don't want to have to worry about something I say offhandedly in game chat affecting my future job prospects or relationships, or gets me noticed by whatever government entity might be listening in.

          Anonymity is a good thing and privacy is an end unto itself.

        • by game kid (805301)

          Any group that gives YouTube, Facebook, and their friends an excuse for real name harassment is a bad thing.

          Thanks a lot, Penny Arcade. You may have a whole horde (or alliance, as it may be) of gamers under your spell but not me.

      • by durnurd (967847)
        Or maybe, just maybe, you *won't* see random people's account info. You can still play with a randomly matched person without needing to know who they are. I wonder if Google is smart enough to respect privacy at least when it comes to other people looking at it.
      • by Luthair (847766)
        Except that people who cheat and otherwise behave badly often use fake / hacked accounts, but those of us who follow the rules would be opening up ourselves to harassment outside the game. Simply put script kiddies don't like to lose.
  • Acheivement unlocked (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sayfawa (1099071) on Sunday May 12, 2013 @10:16AM (#43701821)
    You've earned the badge of boring, repetitive, unimaginative phone-game player. Here's a preview of the upcoming Angry Birds - Cut the Rope tie-in.
    • by taxman_10m (41083)

      Mod this guy up. I don't find there to be much variety in tablet/phone gaming at the moment. It's just many (mostly mediocre) variations on 2 or 3 different game types. I find this surprising since so many of the games that were on the Super Nintendo or Genesis would seem to work perfectly on such a platform (as they did on handhelds). Where are all the tile-based RPGs?

      • by Georules (655379)
        They don't really. A d-pad and button overlay on a game, especially on a small screen is not very appealing. Also, phone/tablet games often work best when they are games you can pick up and put down like a toy quickly. Most more immersive RPGs as they are currently designed don't lend themselves to this. There is a good bit to figure out there.
        • A d-pad and button overlay on a game, especially on a small screen is not very appealing.

          Then connect a regular game controller to your phone or tablet through Bluetooth. Or buy a device with built-in game buttons, such as a Sony Xperia Play or an Archos GamePad or a JXD S5110.

          • by node 3 (115640)

            A d-pad and button overlay on a game, especially on a small screen is not very appealing.

            Then connect a regular game controller to your phone or tablet through Bluetooth. Or buy a device with built-in game buttons, such as a Sony Xperia Play or an Archos GamePad or a JXD S5110.

            Lol, when it's iOS or Macs under discussion, you always ask what poor people are supposed to do, or how can you do this while riding on a bus.

            But when it's Android, just buy some extra bulky stuff!

      • by rasmusbr (2186518)

        Mod this guy up. I don't find there to be much variety in tablet/phone gaming at the moment. It's just many (mostly mediocre) variations on 2 or 3 different game types. I find this surprising since so many of the games that were on the Super Nintendo or Genesis would seem to work perfectly on such a platform (as they did on handhelds). Where are all the tile-based RPGs?

        Either drowning in $0.99 crap or not released because game companies predict that they will be drowning in $0.99 crap.

        I think there needs to be a carefully curated invite-only game store for phones and tablets where game companies would agree to charge at least $9.99 for a game.

        • not released because game companies predict that they will be drowning in $0.99 crap

          A game isn't "drowning" if it's marketed correctly. The publisher could run advertisements in traditional and online media, get it in the hands of reviewers on the major video game news sites, and have the online ads link to the application's page on Google Play Store where the user can choose to download the game's first chapter and send it to the device.

          • by rasmusbr (2186518)

            Yeah, in-game purchases and chapters could work in theory. It probably will work at some point in the future, as soon as most customers have gotten used to in-game purchases and don't perceive it as scammy, which could take a while.

            But I don't think you can ever get around the basic problem, which is that it's hard to make money selling designer vases through stores that focus on plastic souvenirs.

            • It probably will work at some point in the future, as soon as most customers have gotten used to in-game purchases and don't perceive it as scammy, which could take a while.

              How is shareware any more scammy than two decades ago? Id Software distributed the entirety of the first episode of Doom without charge. Users who paid got two more episodes.

              • by Belial6 (794905)
                There is a big difference. The Id model of would be the same as the companies who now offer a limit free version, with an expanded pay version. The scammy in-game purchases are the "Pay to Win" model.
                • Would the following wording be enough to clarify the difference between shareware style IAP and scammy pay-to-win IAP? "You can play the first chapter without charge. If you like it, a single in-game purchase of $9.99 unlocks the entire game. We won't nickel and dime you."
      • by marsu_k (701360)

        Where are all the tile-based RPGs?

        Yes, so much this. Mobile games seem to fall into two categories - they're either very casual or have very tacked-on controls that simply don't work on a touch screen. The former category can be enjoyable; I've spent way too much time with the likes of Stupid Zombies and Slice It! than I care to admit while commuting, but of the latter category - for example, I find the GTAIII port on Android to be utterly unplayable. Generally, trying to emulate a controller with a touch screen is a pointless excercise in

        • by taxman_10m (41083)

          Something along the lines of Eye of the Beholder (or Legend of Grimrock, for a more current example) would work fantastically.

          It's funny you mention those two examples. I was actually thinking of those.

  • ...when Google shuts down the service 18-24 months from launch.

  • Google's been telling us about the hundreds of millions of Google+ members (and I'm sure there will be reminders of that during IO); so obviously with such a thriving membership it makes perfect sense to drive everything through it.

    I'm sure it won't be contrived at all.

  • by EGSonikku (519478) <petersen.mobile@gmai l . c om> on Sunday May 12, 2013 @03:37PM (#43703439)

    It's Apple's Game Center iOS has had since iOS5?

  • Today, an old favorite: Find the verb!

  • Google+ was on my phone from the factory, without my direct consent. Because it contributes to excessive battery drain while trying to sync even when data and wifi are down, and to Google's privacy invasion, I've disabled it.

    I did the same with Maps.

    It's high time for Google to respect the wishes of its phone users. When they say don't do this, don't do this.

  • this update probably has a some relationship to Nvidia's handheld device Shield being able to play android games, especially because some of these features can be found on Steam and probably nvidia's own tegrazone. The question may then become is the 'syncing' among android apps and/or across these other platforms...
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