Google Play Games is changing, and it may affect how you interact on the platform. Starting today, you’ll no longer need a Google+ account to have a profile on Play Games.
Instead, the company is launching Gamer ID, which lets you create a whole new identity. You can pick your own screen name and avatar from a list of preset icons, too.
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You can also choose to have your Gamer ID linked to your Google account, or remain anonymous. To access Google Play Games, you’ll only need your Gamer ID.
When on the platform, you can connect with others using your Gamer ID. If you have it linked to your Gmail account, others can find you by searching for your Gmail address.
Benjamin Frenkel, Product Manager for Play Games, tells TNW the change is more about letting gamers be who they want to be. Feedback from users suggested there was a lot of us that didn’t want our gmail linked to an online presence where we played games. Users enjoy having one account for all of their Google needs, but don’t think it makes sense for gaming.
In that vein, you could create a very serious, hardcore gaming identity that had little to do with your meek real-life self. Similarly, your work friends won’t chide you for playing a lot of Candy Crush Saga.
I also pressed Frenkel about how this may affect abuse on Play Games. He tells me that Google has a robust filter that can catch offensive Gamer ID handles, but other users can also report offensive names.
If a user is reported, their Gamer ID will be manually reviewed. Should Google staff find it to be offensive, that gamer will be issued a non-offensive Gamer ID until they manually change it.
It’s good for gamers who want to play games without worrying about it affecting their personal lives, and gives Play Games a bit more room to flourish as a platform. The side effect is that Google+ loses another feature, further highlighting how Google is marginalizing its social platform.
Gamer ID will roll out globally over the next week.