Android Google Play game services

Piracy is one of the major issues scaring developers away from putting resources into Android development. Today, at the Google I/O developer conference, Google introduced some new features in its Play game services that will help developers combat piracy.

Google Play game services is an ecosystem that helps developers implement cloud saves, leaderboards, and more in mobile games on Android, iOS, and computers. On Android, however, it has a few extra tricks — like the ability to detect if a player is using an unauthorized version of a game.

“The games team shares developers’ concerns about piracy in Android games,” Android lead engineer Steve Martin told developers at I/O. “Not every game should have to be free-to-play. We’d much rather you guys had a choice in the matter.”

Google Play knows whether a player downloaded a game through the official market or not. It then alerts the developer and lets each studio decide how to deal with the pirate.

“We can return an error to the game if you so choose,” said Martin. “You can decide what your game does next. You can choose whether or not you let the pirated game use Play game services. For example, you could choose to not allow a pirated game to use multiplayer features.”

This is another instance during this conference where Google is focusing on reassuring developers that are hesitant about developing for Android. It’s early in the event, and we won’t know if it is enough — but as of right now, Google is saying all the right things.