Over the weekend on the Android Developers Blog, Google announced a significant change is coming this year to Google Play Games. To this point, if you played a game on your Android device and signed into the service, it required you to have a Google+ ID to do so. It created a multi-step process for users and is a bit of a hold over from when Google tried to push everyone and everything through Google+. At some point this year, Google is going to eliminate this requirement and gamers will be able to sign in one time per account and any new games they start playing, they will be automatically signed into the service.
We’re taking steps to reduce sign-in friction and unnecessary permission requests for players by moving the Games APIs to a new model. The new interaction is:
Players are prompted to sign-in once per account, rather than once per game
Players no longer need their account upgraded to Google+ to use Play Games services
Once players have signed-in for the first time, they will no longer need to sign in to any future games; they will be automatically signed in
Note: Players can turn off auto-sign-in through the Play Games App’s settings
It is certainly going to make it much easier for players to sign into the service, especially on new games where they can just get to playing immediately without having to go through the whole sign in process repeatedly.
For new players, they will receive a new Player ID which is not like what Google has used in the past. For those of us who have already been using the service with our Google+ ID, there is no new ID. You will continue to use your Google+ ID but the ability to sign in without consent with each game will be supported (assuming that the developer has enabled this in their app with the new
API). The move is an interesting one as it decouples Google Play Games and Google+ which Google has continued to do despite the recent resurgence of the social community site. But, in order to capture a new generation of players, the company wants to make the sign in process easier and with less, in their words, friction.
The release from Google did not indicate an exact time in 2016 when this will be required but I suspect that more news and information on this will be made available at Google I/O in May.