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Google Play Games service discovered ahead of Google I/O

This year’s Google I/O is only a few short days away, yet features intended for announcement at the event are already leaking out. Android Police has been rummaging around APKs once again, with the latest version of the Google Play Store inadvertently revealing major new functionality for Android. Say hello to Google Play Games.

The app itself doesn’t seem to be live just yet, but it seems pretty clear that Google+ will play a major role in connecting players to their friends. The APK teardown performed by Android Police also shows that Google Play Games will carry features such as game saves in the cloud, matchmaking and invites, and the always popular achievements.

Strings in the APK indicate that gamers will be able to manually choose who they play games with, but an automatic mode is also available for matchmaking. It looks like there will also be some kind of chat room functionality while players wait on each other. On top of achievements, Google looks to be adding leaderboard functionality, which will track rankings across time. An icon badge will also be available for developers that can be added to games. The icon will indicate that a game is connected to Google’s Play services, not unlike OpenFeint for iOS and Android.

This isn’t the first time references have been spotted to a Google Games service. An APK teardown of the Google Glass companion app last montbh also hinted toward multiplayer gaming, but this latest information shows that the release of the service is imminent. We’ll find out exactly what Google has in store for us at I/O starting on Wednesday May 15th.

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