Amazon’s GameCircle, the company's answer to Apple's Game Center, is today receiving a major upgrade that includes the expansion of GameCircle to all Android devices. The service, which at launch had only supported Kindle Fire, already provides support for syncing progress, achievements and leaderboard data between devices, but today's upgrade will also now include conflict resolution.
This feature arrives as an improvement to Amazon's Whispersync technology, which now offers a more simplified interface for quicker integration, and allows for queuing updates to support offline operation. As the company explains in a blog post announcing these changes, these updates mean that customers' game data will automatically sync across devices, even if they temporarily play offline. Developers, meanwhile, can concentrate on using the data and not persisting it, though the post makes clear that a copy of the data is available if developers need it -- they're not being locked in.
Amazon first introduced GameCircle nearly a year ago as a new gaming experience designed only for the Kindle Fire. However, speculation at the time was that this was necessary headway the company needed to make in the mobile gaming space, if reports of an Amazon smartphone were indeed true. While GameCircle is useful to those who delete a game from their Kindle Fire, then later install it again, the more prevalent use case for such a thing is for syncing progress between different devices -- often a phone and tablet, as with Apple's iPhone and iPad, for example.
GameCircle's early adopters at the time of launch included Imangi Studios (Temple Run), Spry Fox (Triple Town), and GameHouse (Doodle Jump, Collapse). Today, there are over 500 different Kindle Fire titles that support the Whispersync-based service.
With the expansion to support the larger Android's ecosystem, GameCircle can now better compete with Google's more recently announced Google Play Game Services, an SDK revealed at this year's I/O conference that also allows game state, leaderboards, and achievements to be stored in the cloud and synced between devices, plus supports real-time multiplayer gaming. However, Google's Game Services technology also works on iOS and web in addition to Android, while Amazon's platform remains Android-only.
Though Google doesn't explicitly break out how many Android titles support Game Services, a search for keywords "game services" (in quotes) in Google Play revealed at least 1,000 results.
A deeper dive into the technical details of Amazon's GameCircle's upgrade is available here.