At the Game Developers Conference, Google announced several updates to the Google Play Games platform as part of their annual Developer Day event. Noting tremendous growth in the gaming community especially in terms of games reaching the 1 million install plateau, Google hopes the new tools will help developers improve monetization and grow their businesses.
The first set of improvements launched by Google is actually in the platform itself and is aimed at players, so developers will not need to work to implement them. Following up on their release of Gamer IDs that removed the need for a Google+ account to login to Play Games, Google is adding a Gamer friends feature. This will make it possible for gamers to find other players and interact with them from within the Play Games platform.
Google is also launching a new Indie Corner section on Google Play that will highlight games produced by independent developers. Developers can nominate their own games and Google will be highlighting titles they consider to be some of the best based on both the quality of the game and “exemplary use” of the Play Games services.
For game developers, Google is rolling out a new game parameters management tool. This will work in conjunction with the Play Analytics tool that Google previously released. After analyzing gameplay, developers will be able to adjust game parameters for things like virtual goods or currencies. The nice part about this tool is that developers will be able to make these adjustments and push them out to players without requiring an update to the app or making changes to the APK.
If developers choose to implement it, Google is also making available a new video recording API. This will enable users to capture in-game video and then post it on YouTube or share it with friends in other ways with only a few simple steps. Google is even adding a live streaming function so users could broadcast their gameplay via YouTube.
In terms of game tools and improvements, Google is adding Predictive Analytics to the Player Stats API. Using the new tool, developers will get predictions about how likely a player is to make an in-app purchase within the next 30 days or may even be a “high spender.” By identifying these players, developers can tailor the gaming experience to encourage greater engagement from these players.
Google is also rolling out several improvements to advertising tools available to game developers to help them generate revenue and customers. The first is “Search Trial Run Ads” that will be available through Google Search. When a game title pops up in a result, users will be presented with an option to “Try now” and can play a title for up to 10 minutes. At the end of that time, they will be given an option to download and install the game. These results make use of live streaming and will only be available when users are on Wi-Fi.
Google will be adding a new Portrait Video Ads option for developers who use video ads via the Google Display Network. Google indicates over 80% of video ads were viewed on devices held vertically even though the ads were created for landscape viewing. Some new targeting ad options will also be rolling out to help developers target users who spend more than 30 minutes within a 30 day period playing games or playing a Google Play Games integrated title.
Finally, Google is tweaking the AdMob platform to add a new form of game monetization. Users may be given the choice of viewing ads in exchange for in-app rewards. This new feature is called AdMob Mediation and will enable the use of rewarded ads from networks like AdColony, AppLovin, Chartboost, Fyber, Upsight and Vungle.
source: Android Developers