In its bid to simplify things for both users and developers, Google is once again moving further and further away from what was once its central strategy, Google+. In newly published guidelines for developers announcing the new changes coming to Google Play Games, Google is introducing several changes with the most notable one being news that Google+ account integration is being dropped.
Google Play Games, a gaming service Google introduced in mid-2013 by Google as a response to Apple’s Game Centre. Its core mission was to make it easy for developers to integrate key features like achievements, leaderboards, multiplayer and cloud saves in their games. The main beneficiary, the users, would thus be able to access all their game data in one place on either Android or iOS, something Game Centre was already doing so well on iOS devices.
Using Google Play Games came with its fair share of drawbacks. For starters, users had to sign in using their Google+ accounts after which they would grant the particular game permission to access the data associated with their account on Google’s failed social network. While the permission granting process was a one time thing, signing with Google+ was something to be done each and every time one fired up a game. That ended being annoying and Google knows that too well. No more, it says. Not only will users not be required to associate a Google+ account with Play Games in order to ensure they don’t lose their game progress but they will also only have to sign in once using the default Google account on their device.
In this day and age where privacy is such a major concern that even Skype automatically hides your IP address, Google will also not broadcast to the world your name. Instead it will show a player ID that is not in any way intrusive. For instance, when I’m playing NFS No Limits, which use Play Games to sync data and save my progress as well as rank my road racing exploits against other players, I can’t do anything to change my full name since it is the Player ID generated based off my Google account. That will change. As will other more developer-centered things that users will soon start noticing when these changes are fully effected.