Google is ending support for real-time and turn-based multiplayer APIs in Play Games Services

Google is ending support for real-time and turn-based multiplayer APIs in Play Games Services

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Mobile game development can be quite lucrative, but for many indie developers, it’s just something they do for fun. For those developers, it’s not worth maintaining a game if the services they rely on are no longer free. That’s why some developers are upset that Google is ending support for the Play Games Services APIs used to make real-time and turn-based multiplayer games.

In an email sent to developers the other day, Google announced that they will end support for the aforementioned APIs in Play Games Services. The real-time and turn-based multiplayer support APIs are marked as deprecated as of yesterday and are unavailable for new games. Developers currently using these APIs in their games have until March 31, 2020, to migrate their games to an alternative, such as Firebase Realtime Database or Google Cloud Open Match.

Switching to Firebase makes sense if you plan on supporting cross-platform multiplayer, but implementing it means you’ll have to consider how you formulate your privacy policy because of the data that gets submitted to the Firebase Console. Most importantly, however, it isn’t free beyond the most basic “Spark Plan” tier, which likely won’t be enough to support most multiplayer games. If you do want to migrate to a Google-provided alternative, you can request help from Google using this form.

Besides abandoning the game you’ve been working on, another alternative is to implement your own app on a hosting service, though that may be too much of a hassle for a passion project. Google Play Games Services was free and worked well enough for simple real-time and turn-based multiplayer games, but Google now wants you to fork over some cash if you want the multiplayer service in your game to continue working. Our tipster’s game will likely be killed because of this change, and I’m sure at least some of you are considering a similar move.

Thanks for the tip, Kieron Quinn!