Google Play games is finally fulfilling a promise to appeal more to gamers and unbundle from Google+.
With the version 3.7 update you should finally have the ability to create a custom avatar, gamer profile name, and exert more privacy controls for who can interact with your activity. Signing in is now directly tied to your Google account instead of the unsuccessful social network.
There are also now several controls for using your profile, with the ability to make your activity public and to automatically sign-in to new games. This is particularly useful for titles that take advantage of Google Play Games’ ability to backup your progress.
This capability was first announced in early February, but it’s not uncommon for new rollouts like this to be on the slow side. Many had yet to get it, and some (myself included) were graced with an annoying bug that made the gamer profile private. Even after I tried to set it to public, it would revert back. My issue was solved with one of several small updates to Play Games, but hopefully this major release will fix the issue for good.
The impact on you: If you’ve been vexed by the public profile bug, then perhaps the version 3.7 update will fix this for you. Beyond that, you may be able to have some fun by giving yourself a name that will strike fear into the hearts of your gaming enemies. It’s all part of Google’s effort to make Android a better home for gaming enthusiasts by bringing over some of the console experience.