Google Play Services 7.0 will make it possible to use your Android device as a game controller for Android TV


Google Play Services

Google has announced the rollout of Google Play Services 7.0 to give developers new tools to make even more awesome apps. Highlights of this update include the ability to use Google’s public Places API to easily support Places in your apps.

Other notable changes in today’s update include a more robust Google Fit API, improvements to the AdMob SDK, improvements to app indexing and more. The most exciting change of all today, though?

This version of Google Play Services will make it possible for folks to use their Android smartphones and tablets as game controllers for Android TV games. This is made possible by the Nearby Connections API that will let an Android devices and your Android TV set discover each other seamlessly and wirelessly.

This is a great solution for households who invite friends and family over to play games, but were only able to snap up one controller with whatever Android TV set they have. Here’s a quick video of it in action:

Not looking bad at all, Google. Developers can get their hands on all these tools within the coming days. In the meantime, put your thinking caps on and explore how you can make your apps better with these latest changes.

[via Google]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Excellent, this is the kind of gaming interface I’ve been waiting for. Bring on the boardgames!

    1. I’d love to have a traditional RISK game that can be played multiplayer and multiplatform….off topic I know. :)

    2. I have Monopoly from Amazon. Now I can ruin all my friendships on the big screen with ease!!

    3. And the quizshows!

  2. This is pretty awesome though I still think the people with controllers would have an advantage in a lot of games just due to the tactile buttons

    1. For a lot of traditional games, yes. But this opens up the doors for new kinds of games with completely different control types. If developers embrace it, this could be just as revolutionary as the original Wii.

  3. Very cool but a touchscreen is the #1 reason why I rarely play games on my phone. It would be even better if they expanded the controller support in Android to support Bluetooth controllers like PS3 and PS4. OUYA is about the only Android device I’ve seen that does this out of the box. (yes I know there is a root app for them)

    1. It does. The new Shield TV supports third party bluetooth controllers. Remember though, that the main reason touch controls were so awful was because they interfered with looking at the screen. This new system effectively turns any (new) android phone into an impromptu wii remote.

  4. “I want to use my phone as a controller” – no one ever

    1. I guess I’m no one. :(

      1. Seriously, imagine having a bunch of your friends over to play something like Catan on the big screen, having their individual cards show up on their own phones/tablets. Or playing something like Artemis, where the TV is the main viewscreen, and everyone has individual controls on their own mob.

    2. I have apps downloaded to do this very thing. =.3

    3. Like they said, this is great for casual multiplayer, at a pinch. Mario Kart Wii was basically played like this n the Wii remotes, and it opens up home multiplayer to more people, especially at parties (near the end when things cool down and people start breaking out the funny YouTube videos, etc).

      It also works for quiz show style games, like “You don’t know Jack” (which already had a similar app for phones to be used as controllers for Ouya).

  5. I already use Google TV Remote for my android based tv boxes, works very well, but SHEESH GOOGLE can you get things loosened up so third parties can energetically make Android TV boxes. So far there is just the Nexus Player, which is not worth buying IMO. Others are taking AGES to make their Lollipop Android TV boxes and I gather it has a lot to do with things being slow on the Android end. Come on already!!!!!

    1. The brand new, all singing, all dancing “Nvidia Shield TV” says “hi”.

      1. yeah, its absolutely amazing too…

  6. Great idea. I hope that phone keyboards and touch (swipe) controls can be used for mouse controls, etc. This would make available more “touch only” style games available to those without bluetooth or usb mice.

    However, why chose Beach Buggy Racing to showcase this? Unless the devs are going to REALLY bring an actual premium game mode to this, then multiplayer in a “pay to win” game such as this seems irrelevant.

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