That gives Android developers 12 months to plan for their removal. Google says developers use engagement and reporting tools extensively, but cites “lower usage” for Gifts, Requests, and Quests. The company did not specify how many developers or games would be affected by this feature cut.
GPGS offers tools to build, analyze, and retain gamers. Google said the change comes after “listening to developer feedback and examining usage” and that it will be able to “focus on making our offering more useful.” The plan is to continue supporting features such as Sign-in, Achievements, Leaderboards, and Multiplayer.
That could of course change, but Google insists it is committed to supporting game developers:
Play games services remains an important part of the tools we provide developers, and we’re working hard on future GPGS updates. We continue to be strongly committed to providing high quality services for Games, including new tools such as official Firebase support for Unity and C++ developers, and integration with Firebase Analytics. These changes allow us to focus our efforts on the services developers value most to build high quality, engaging games.
This is not the first cut Google has made to GPGS. In December, the company announced that it was ending support for the creation of new iOS accounts, the latest Native SDK release (version 2.3) would no longer support integration with iOS, and the iOS SDK would not be supported nor updated.