updated 09:57 am EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
New SDK brings Google Game Services to all iOS developers
Google today announced that it is bringing its services for game developers, formerly exclusive to Android, to iOS. In a direct challenge to Apple's own Game Center, the move further expands Google's Android-based Play Games services to turn-based and real-time multiplayer games, which would allow gamers to compete on titles that use the SDK and are available on both iOS and Android.
Some cross-platform compatibility between iOS and Android titles exists currently, but only with the Unity game engine. Google will release a SDK for games not utilizing Unity, but it won't initially support the multiplayer aspects, focusing on achievements and leaderboards. The Play Games services also supports cloud saves and syncing achievements between platforms.
Google claims that most of the features will be available for developers on March 18. The SDK will be shown at this week's Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, and will also support "game gifts," allowing players to send virtual in-game items to each other. The services package also lets developers leverage Google Analytics from their in-app purchase ads.