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Updates from the Google for Games Developer Summit

Posted by Posted by Greg Hartrell, Product Management Director, Google Play & Android

Last year we saw Android and Play reach new heights with people playing more games safely at home. By continually making Google Play a better place for consumers, we’ve made it a richer place for game developers to connect with a diverse global audience. So much in fact, that Android has reached 3B monthly active devices, and Play grew to reach 2.5B monthly active users driving 140B installations worldwide.

At Google we build for everyone, and that means we’re here to help all developers reach gamers in the right moments: from the largest game studios, to the indie shops conjuring up fun and innovative games across the world.

During our Game Developer Summit, we shared updates on a breadth of tools and solutions to help you across the lifecycle of your gaming business. We announced new tools to make game development easier, updates on a growing ecosystem to help get your games running on more screens, and new opportunities to drive your go-to-market success on Google Play.

Here’s more about everything we shared and how you can get started today.

Easier development

  • We launched the Android Game Development Kit, a full range of tools and libraries to help you develop, optimize, and deliver high quality Android games. In this initial launch, AGDK covers three major areas:

    1. Integrated workflows (e.g. a new Visual Studio extension)

    2. Essential C/C++ game libraries (e.g. the new Game Text Input library)

    3. Performance optimization (e.g. frame profiler support in our GPU profiler and new loading time support in Android Performance Tuner)

    • In Android 12, we’re working on two new areas. Game dashboard provides an overlay experience with quick access to key utilities during gameplay – like screen capture, recording, and more, and will be available on select devices later this year. With Game Mode APIs, you can react to players selecting a performance profile for their game – like better battery life for a long commute, or performance mode to get peak frame rates. Integrate Game Mode APIs prior to the launch of Android 12 via Beta releases.
    • Reach and devices is a new data and insights tool that helps you plan for more success on Google Play. It enables you to understand and predict the distribution of your users and technical issues across countries and key device attributes (like Android version, memory, graphics stack and chipsets). You can use it to make the business case for country and device targeting decisions, to spot optimization opportunities, and to set test priorities for your next release.
    • Firebase Remote Config lets you update the behavior and appearance of your game for different audience segments without releasing a new version. The new personalization feature is now available in early access via the Firebase Alpha program. It uses the power of Google’s machine learning to automatically deliver the best experience to each of your users, individually.

More screens

  • On Chrome OS this past year, Google Play usage grew 300%, marking its biggest year of app and game usage since we launched Google Play on Chromebooks in 2016. Unity recently introduced support for Chrome OS on Unity 2021.2, with support for Unity 2020 LTS coming later this year. Optimize your game and join the growing number of developers building for Chrome OS today to access this rapidly expanding audience.

Go-to-market success

  • Play as you download, built into the core of Android 12, will allow users to get into gameplay in seconds while game assets are downloaded in the background. We are seeing games being ready to open at least 2 times faster and we are very excited about the improved user experience.
  • We’ve continued our innovation with Play Asset Delivery to ensure players spend less time waiting for downloads without sacrificing the quality of your game. Now, Texture Compression Format Targeting automatically figures out what modern compression formats to use to further reduce your game’s size.
  • Ratings and Reviews in the Play Console now offer new ways to help you understand your game’s ratings with views across different form-factors, the ability to access and query your ratings history, and new historical ratings metrics.
  • We refreshed Pre-registration in Play Store to be more useful. And now you can use App campaigns for pre-registration to build greater excitement for your game in open testing, or to drive pre-registrations in the Play Store.
  • The new Play Integrity API is designed to help you fight abuse, such as cheating and unauthorized early access by helping you determine if you’re interacting with your genuine game binary, installed by Google Play, on a genuine Android device. Express interest in the Play Integrity API early access program.

Check out the mobile session track for the full lineup of sessions from the Google for Games Developer Summit and bookmark g.co/android/games for our latest resources for Android game development.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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