A significant update to Google’s games platform for smartphones and tablets now allows cross-platform multiplayer between Android and iOS devices.
That means certain multiplayer games can, theoretically, host players using iPhones, iPads, and Android OS devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z.
The change comes as next-generation 4G networks bring a broadband-like speed to cellular data on smartphones.
Greg Hartrell, a lead product manger at Google, revealed the new multiplayer feature as part of a suite of enhancements to the Google Play game services
“We’re expanding multiplayer to support iOS, bringing turn-based and real-time multiplayer capabilities to both Android and iOS,” he said in a blog post.
A Google spokesperson has confirmed to CVG that this means cross-platform multiplayer on Apple and Google phones is now a reality.
Three out of every four Android users are playing games, Hartrell said, and added that Google Play paid “four times more money” to developers in 2013 than the year prior.
Google Play is also introducing an in-app gift service, where users can send their virtual in-game objects to anyone in their circles or through player search.
The Google Play Store will also feature 18 new game categories, Hartell added.