Well the rumor mill has started up and now it is centering around Google. This time, however, it isn't about a secret new device or anything of that nature but instead about a social gaming network they are apparently working on. Interestingly enough, we predicted this would happen last year when the App Inventor was released.
You're probably wondering what the hell does the Android App Inventor have to do with any of this? Well when we got into the beta for it, we noticed some interesting, but not yet implemented features that dealt with server communication for games. At that point we predicted that Google would end up making some sort of gaming network similar to Apple's Game Center. Since then there has been the odd rumor floating around here and there about it but this time there seems to be actual details.
Screenshot of App Inventor during beta. There is now documentation about this and other game client/server features in the Android developer documents.
According to a source who spoke to PocketGamer, Google is currently working on this Android-exclusive social gaming network and while it will be similar to the Game Center in some way, some features mentioned will make this a lot more social and interactive than the Game Center.
Similar to the Game Center:
Different than Game Center:
In-game message boards
Point Total reflecting the number of achievements earned
Better functionality (according to the source)
So when can we expect to see this go live for all of us Android gamers to use? Apparently there is still a hefty wait to go through as late 2011-early 2012 is being cited as the launch time. That does mean a beta should be going sometime in late Summer or Fall of 2011. As with all rumors, take it with a grain of salt.