Remember when Google hired gaming industry veteran Noah Falstein earlier this month? That and hints in the MyGlass app for Google Glass suggested that the search giant would be venturing into gaming hub territory.

And we have official confirmation that such a service will be launching for Android soon. Android Police got hold of an APK for an updated Play Services, the app that runs behind the scenes to push updates from the Play Store. The teardown reveals a host of details suggesting that Google is on the verge of launching a centralised gaming hub for Android that’ll handle everything from game invites to leaderboards to push notifications. The hub is tentatively being referred to as Google Play Games as that’s the moniker in the APK.

Screenshots of the Google Play Games app (Image credit: Android Police)

Screenshots of the Google Play Games app (Image credit: Android Police)

The new gaming hub solution will be a direct competitor to Apple’s Game Center, which launched nearly three years ago. For long iOS users have had an easy way of tracking friends’ achievements and global leaderboards. Google Play Games will bring Android on par with the iOS experience and could deliver a much needed boost to revenues from Play Store.

From the early leak, we can tell that Play Games will be used to push game invites, a system that will leverage the company’s social network, Google+. There are hints suggesting that in-game chat, achievements, and leaderboards will be coming as well. In addition, users will be able to find opponents for turn-based games more easily. Google Play Games will also save games to the cloud to allow syncing between devices and new installs. It also looks like real-time and turn-based multiplayer features will somehow be baked into Google Play Games.

Unfortunately, the app only lets users sign-in at the moment with none of the functionality open to testing or use. With Google I/O just two days away, we can expect this major gaming-related development to make up a large part of Google’s plans for Android.

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