Google is unveiling new ways to improve engagement and discovery for game developers who create mobile titles for the Google Play app store.
The company is introducing the new features in sessions at the Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco. The features are aimed at helping developers get noticed in an app store with a million titles. Today’s app stores enable anyone to publish games, but there are so many titles out there that it is getting harder and harder to get the best ones in front of the right consumers.
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“As they launch over the coming weeks, these new services and tools will help you unlock the power of Google to take your games to the next level,” said Greg Hartrell, the lead product manager for Google Play.
In a blog post, Hartrell wrote that four times as much money was paid out to Google Play’s game developers in 2013 than in 2012. The Android ecosystem has seen more than a billion device activations.
One of the new features is game gifts. Now players can give virtual in-game items to friends in their Google+ circles or player search. The Play Games app also supports multiplayer invites directly, enabling players to discover a game and keep playing by sharing it with friends. The Google Play Store will also feature 18 new game categories, so it will be easier for players to find the games they like.
Hartrell said that three of every four Android users are playing games. Over time, Google has catered to these gamers and game developers by creating a cross-platform service for Android, iOS, and web games. It has built leaderboards, achievements, multiplayer, and cloud save.
Google is also expanding by bringing turn-based and real-time multiplayer capabilities to both Android and iOS. It is making changes to its software development kit (SDK) to make it easier to adopt features that help game developers. And Google is providing enhanced game analytics for developers with a dashboard that visualizes player and engagement statistics. It will show daily active users, retention analysis, and achievement and leaderboard performance. With these tools, developers will be able to spot their best customers.
Google’s AdMob advertising platform will also have new features. Google Analytics will now be available directly in the AdMob interface so developers can get deeper insights into how users are interacting with an app. Ads will now be able to target users with specific promotions to buy items in a game, and developers will have more ways to optimize ads to generate more revenue.
The talks will be livestreamed on YouTube.