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Player profiles and avatars come to Google Play
Player profiles and avatars come to Google Play
February 18, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

Quick bit of news today for Android game developers, as Google has announced plans to spend the next week rolling out a new "Gamer ID" player profile and avatar system across its Google Play platform.

What's most notable here is that Google is making it a bit easier for Android game players to put some space between their real identities (or at least whatever's listed in the Google account they've tied to Google Play) and who they are when they play games. 

According to Google Play Games product manager Benjamin Frenkel, this chiefly affects Android game developers who use Google Plus (Or G+) hooks in their games.

"The big change for developers is the removal of the G+ dependencies," Frenkel tells Gamasutra via email. 

"If the developer is not using the G+ end points or requesting the G+ scopes as they build their client API, developers won't have to do anything. Auto-sign-in will work automagically. If a developer is requesting G+ scopes in addition to the games scope, but is not using G+ end points they should remove the G+ scopes."

As the new system comes online, players logging into Android games integrated with Google Play Games will be asked to create their "Gamer ID" and given the option to associate it with their name and email address. They'll also be able to choose whether or not their game activity is private.

"We've always loved the ability to express ourselves through our carefully crafted gamer identities. These identities enabled us to become fully engulfed in the virtual worlds of the games we played on PC and console," Frenkel told Gamasutra when asked about whether the Google Play team had drawn inspiration from similar systems (like say, the extant profile systems on Steam or Xbox Live) for this project. "What inspired us was giving players the ability to unlock similarly immersive experiences within the Play Games ecosystem."

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