It happens every so often that one pushes just the wrong button and unintentionally reveals some things meant for some other day. That seems to be the case behind Google's premature announcement of new features to its Google Play Games services.
To be clear, these features are mostly intended for developers. After all, the Play Games services is Google's cross-platform game service and SDK that adds things like achievements and cloud saves to games. But of course, whetever benefits developers also benefits users in the long run, to some extent. The upcoming version of the service features game gifts, a service that will let players, and developers, send virtual in-game objects to other players of the same game or to anyone in their Google+ circles. Before you start getting excited, this isn't game or app gifting. It's just a more convenient way to send out gifts (or bribes) to keep players from leaving your game.
Game developers and publishers will most likely find the other features quite enticing. First, multiplayer support will be coming to iOS, which is one of the platforms officially supported by Google Play Services. Google is also rolling out a Unity Plug-in to help those using one of the most popular game development tools around. Enhanced Play Games statistics on the developer console as well as Google Analytics in the AdMob interface will help developers get deeper insight into how users interact with their games as well as in-game ads.
Google has now taken down the blog post that was mistakenly published ahead of schedule, so there's still a chance that more, or maybe even less, will be announced later on. Google has scheduled some of these features to go live at the Game Developers Conference 2014 this week, specifically on Tuesday, March 18. Game developers in the crowd might want to keep an eye out for their YouTube livestream as well.