May, 27 2013

Leading up to Google IO, we learned about Google Play Games. Most described it as the “Game Center for Android,” which it sort of is. It enables friends-based leaderboards, achievements, multiplayer and more in any game that implements the new service. Well, once Google actually unveiled the service it seemed to be missing one key thing: where’s the hub?

Where’s the app I can use to keep track of all my achievements and compare them to that of my friends’? Where can I view the leaderboards for every game I’ve played, and compare my ranking to both my own friends and those around the world? Why can’t I “nudge” one of my friends to play an online game without having to go into the app to orchestrate that connection?


As it stands, if I want to view anything regarding my Google Play Games history I have to go into a Google Play Games game, and I’m only shown information about that specific game. It works, but it’s cumbersome when all I’m trying to do is check out my progress.

The service requires Google+ and supports sharing via the social network, so why not have a link to this on people’s Google+ profile page?  The old games tab is being decommissioned next month anyway, so why not re-purpose that for the web-based portal Google Play Games deserves?

Of course, Google could be working on a companion app for the service as I type. Unfortunately my attempts to get this particular question answered have been futile, but I’m willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt and just assume that means they’re working on something like this and aren’t interested in spilling the beans at this time.

Android is a great platform and Google does a great job innovating, but it’s time to start bringing things around full circle from the get-go. Almost every casual Android user I know hasn’t heard of Google Play Games, and even with the new features in some of their favorite games they didn’t realize what the driving force behind those features were.

It’s time to change that, Google — put it in their faces, and let them know that Google Play Games is the definitive experience for social gaming. Pull an Apple, for once, and shove it down everyone’s throats, because that’s the only way this is going to take off just as fast as Android did. Do you wish Google Play Games had its own dedicated app?