Gaming on Android devices isn’t quite on the same level as iOS. The Apple products still tend to get more games, and Apple provides deeper support with its Game Center software that manages friends and multiplayer gaming.
Google is finally catching up in that last respect, according to code buried in the MyGlass Android app that ties the company’s new Google Glass wearable computers to Android phones and tablets. The code, first discovered by Android Police, supports real-time/turn-based multiplayer, invitations, in-game chat, lobbies, leaderboards, and achievements.
That’s the type of functionality that a console like the Xbox 360 provides with its Xbox Live service. Gamers love to play against friends, but right now every Android developer is stuck building their own multiplayer network or licensing some software from a third-party vendor such as Gree. A standardized gaming environment could go a long way toward improving the lives — and games — of Android players.
Google hasn’t made any official announcements about this new service. It apparently goofed up and shipped the entire suite of Google Play service in the MyGlass app. That includes support for Google Wallet, panoramic pictures, and app search — Glass doesn’t support any of those common Android functions. Similarly, Glass doesn’t play games, so it’s weird that the MyGlass APK (which is the executable file type for the Android OS) includes a “games” folder.
Inside that folder, Android Police found code that can handle synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer, in-game chat, and all of the other features gamers desire in a connected network.
Google has never mentioned anything about a universal games service like this before, but its big Google IO event is coming up in about a month. The fact that the code is complete enough to get accidentally packed in with MyGlass suggests we’ll hear more about it at that San Francisco gathering on May 15.