While local multiplayer sessions are possible, Android multiplayer gaming is for the most part turn-based or done via remote play. Google is looking to change that with some new functionality being added to the Play Games Android gaming framework.
It is essentially a series of APIs and other tools that allows creators to implement a number of services into their games including time-based player events/quests, leaderboards, achievements and other features. And now Google Play Games is getting an update to its multiplayer capabilities with a new new kind of local support.
Similar to what Nintendo DS gamers are used to with StreetPass, Android users will be able to challenge others in real-time, local matches, providing those games are built on Play Games. The company said in a Google+ post recently that players will be able to “invite others nearby into the same game when starting a multiplayer session,” which it hopes will create more local competitive and cooperative experiences. StreetPass allows DS players that come within range of each other to connect and exchange game data, among other things.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the development community will fully embrace the new services, it seems to be the type of technology that is suited for the popular mobile gaming platform.