A new update to Google Play means Android games can now begin to offer turn-based multiplayer modes via the store's built-in gaming system -- a real boon for strategy fans looking for a quick fix on the bus.
Asynchronous multiplayer, as it's known, means you can play turn-based games -- think chess -- without needing a continuous connection. You just take your turn when you're ready and your opponent then receives a notification.
The system supports up to eight players, all sharing their turn data automatically via Play. Google says a 'Connecting to Play Games' animation will appear to make it clear that's how the app is pairing you up with other players, although developers can choose to turn this off.
Plenty of Android games already have this feature -- Words With Friends and its ilk have been around for years -- but they use their own servers or those of Facebook, for example, to connect players.
This might mean big hits on Apple's iOS such as XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Hero Academy could finally make the jump to Android. Both rely on turn-based systems for their popular multiplayer modes, and use iOS's Game Center system to hook players up and keep them in the loop.
Other features in the Google Play Services 4.1 update include an improvement to Google+ sharing, with better autocomplete and suggested recipients, an updated mobile ad system to help app makers make some money, and a developer preview of the new Google Drive API. The latter lets you read and write files across multiple devices and save changes offline.
What's your favourite Android strategy game? Leave your tips in the comments, or on our asynchronous multiplayer Facebook page.