Mobile gaming has spurred a new boom for the game industry — which now serves an audience of more than a billion "gamers" worldwide — and announcements from Google and Twitch on Monday show that developers are serious about taking gaming on tablets and smartphones to the next level.
In an announcement timed to coincide with the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, game-streaming community Twitch said Monday that, for the first time, gamers will be able to easily share the games they're playing with friends from their mobile devices.
Well, at least from one game. Twitch has partnered with Gameloft to bring its live-streaming goodness to the iPhone and iPad game "Asphalt 8: Airborne." Players will now be able to show off their racing exploits live, no matter where they are, using the front-facing camera and microphones on Apple devices to share live commentary.
It's a big deal for the game-streaming service, which has partnerships with Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 4 to stream gameplay live. It has long-pursued its goal of providing this options to gamers everywhere.
"Live broadcasting represents one of the most important shifts in the way people play games,” said Twitch's Matthew DiPietro, vice president of marketing, in a statement. “Twitch has quickly found a home on consoles, so partnering with Gameloft to launch the first streaming-enabled mobile game brings us one step closer to being everywhere that gamers are."
To celebrate — and show off the new partnership — Gameloft will feature on its own Twitch channel and is offering interviews with game developers, walkthroughs of the game and even some giveaways.
Meanwhile, Google's doing its part to raise the standard for mobile games as well, with announcements also pegged for GDC that promise to unlock the "power of Google for your games" by, among other features, working on a way to let players play together across iOS and Android devices. The capability will have to be built in on a per-game basis, but has the potential to bridge a significant divide in the mobile gaming world.
Google also announced that it will be making improvements to other parts of its system, including adding the ability to send "gifts" of in-game virtual items to players in their Google social circles or through a search of Google players.