Google launches new tools to help developers grow their Android games
With over 3 billion monthly active devices running Android — of which 2.5 billion use Google Play — there are a ton of users for mobile game developers to target, but there’s also stiff competition to watch out for. Just developing a high-quality game isn’t enough to drive massive interest, as what comes after launch is just as important to success if not more so: continued user outreach and support. To help developers launch and grow high quality Android games, Google unveiled new tools at the 2021 Google for Games Developer Summit.
The major new feature announced today is Google Play’s new “play as you download” feature, which lets users on Android 12 start playing games while their assets are being downloaded in the background. Select devices on Android 12 also have access to a new game dashboard tool that provides key utilities and a game optimization menu; the latter lets users change the performance profile of a game, which developers can support by integrating Android’s new Game Mode APIs.
In addition, Google also launched the Android Game Development Kit (AGDK), a range of tools and libraries to help develop, optimize, and deliver high quality Android games. The AGDK covers three major areas at launch:
- Integrated workflows (e.g. a new Visual Studio extension)
- Essential C/C++ game libraries (e.g. the new Game Text input library)
- Performance optimization (e.g. frame profiler support in the GPU profiler and loading time support in the Android Performance Tuner)
The Google Play Console now offers a new “reach and devices” tool that provides data and insights to help predict the distribution of users and technical issues across countries and device attributes like the OS version, memory, graphics stack, and chipsets. Google says you can use this tool for country and device targeting decisions, spotting optimization opportunities, and setting test priorities for the next release.
The Play Console now lets you see your game’s ratings with views across different form factors, access and query your game’s ratings history, and see new historical ratings metrics.
Pre-registration in the Play Store is now “more useful”, and app campaigns can now be used to drive users to pre-register for your game on Google Play.
Firebase Remote Config adds a new personalization feature that lets developers update the behavior and appearance of their Android games for different audiences without needing to release a new version. This feature is now available in early access via the Firebase Alpha program.
Play Asset Delivery now uses Texture Compression Format Targeting to automatic figure out the best compression format to use to reduce your game’s size.
Lastly, there’s a new Play Integrity API — available in early access — that helps developers fight abuse like cheating or unauthorized early access by detecting if the game binary is genuine, installed by Google Play, and running on a “genuine” Android device.
For more details on the news announced at the 2021 Google for Games Developer Summit, visit the mobile session track on the event’s website.