Rumor: Google working on a Game Center rip-off for Android

The search giant Google is reportedly looking to replicate Apple’s Game Center with a native Android app of its own.

Despite the ongoing patent war waged between Apple and a bunch of Android backers over the look and feel of iOS software, Google is reportedly looking to simply copy Game Center.

The search firm needs own social gaming service so Android gamers have a central place to connect with each other, check out leaderboards, scores and challenge friends.

And if their other products are anything to go by, Google’s thing is likely to feature deep integration with Google+, their another social thing…

According to a report published by Business Insider, citing a source familiar with the plans, Google’s Game Center-like service is a key piece of the puzzle necessary to make Google a contender in the mobile gaming space.

It will apparently feature a social “achievement” system with virtual awards and trophies, in addition to a leaderboard to rank players against their friends.

An industry source close to developers told the publication:

They are starting to really understand all of the needs and wants to make a game really successful. As recently as even a year ago, that really wasn’t part of their institutional DNA, But I think they’re getting there.

One more area where Google is imitating Apple:

Fixing the payments system for Google Play, the online store where players buy Android games and other apps, to make it as smooth as buying games in the App Store. That’s been a big reason why Android developers make less money than those who build apps for Apple’s iOS devices.

Prior to Game Center, iOS games relied on third-party services such as Open Feint to provide these features. With the release of iOS 4 on September 8, 2010, Apple introduced Game Center as the go-to enabling platform to provide a consistent, game-independent online multiplayer social gaming network built around the Apple ID credential system.

Game Center now comes standard with iOS devices and will debut on Macs with a summer 2012 release of the OS X Mountain Lion operating system.

This will let game developers create streamlined experiences as games for both iOS devices and Macs will be able to provide a consistent set of features (matchmaking, leaderboards, etc) across both platforms.

With the strides Apple’s been making in the gaming space, it makes sense for Google to double-down on gaming and provide a similar service of their own.

Let’s just hope it won’t be a total Game Center rip-off, even if the report asserts that’s exactly what’s at play here.