Android games to get a graphics boost and an achievements system

At Google’s I/O conference, the company promised that the next version of Android, Android L, will bring graphics features that will allow developers to make mobile games that look as good as PC games.

To make that happen, has reported that they’ve added  features like tessellation, geometry shaders, and texture compression that are typically found in PC games but which are sorely lacking in mobile ones. They will become available to developers through the Android Extension Pack for Android L when the new mobile operating system launches in a few months.

Dave Burke, the man in charge of engineering over at Google, said that “Quite literally, this is PC gaming graphics in your pocket.”

To demonstrate that their claims weren’t pie in the sky, Google was able to show water reflections and sophisticated lighting techniques in a demo built by Epic Games in collaboration with NVIDIA just for I/O using its Unreal Engine 4 game engine and NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 mobile processor. Check it out :

Who would have thought something so good-looking would be running on mobile hardware so soon? Not me. It’s clearly a huge leap forward for the graphics capabilities of smartphones and tablets, and I can’t wait to see what developers do with it.

It’s not just about looks

Games aren’t just going to be prettier on Android L – Google also announced that the Play Store is getting “Game Profiles”, a feature that will allow gamers to earn achievements and compare  their mobile gaming stats to those of their friends.

It’s not being done purely for end users, though – the Game Profiles feature forms part of a bid to help developers make more cash from their mobile creations by encouraging gamers to invest a bit more psychologically in their mobile games like they do with Xbox Live’s achievements and PlayStation’s trophy system.

Still, this is all fantastic news for fans of Google’s ecosystem. Now it just remains to be seen how these new graphical features impact on the battery lives of smartphones and tablets, and whether Google’s implementation of Gamer Profiles will genuinely have an effect on how gamers play on their mobiles.

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