Posted by Greg Hartrell, Product Director, Games on Android & Google Play
Whether you’re working on your first game or your next season pass, Google remains committed to helping you across the development and publishing lifecycle. At our Google for Games Developer Summit, I was privileged to share some exciting new tools and insights from Android and Google Play that will help developers like you build games for everyone.
Check out our video playlist to watch the keynote and product sessions on demand, or keep reading for a quick recap of the highlights.
Building great Android games
App quality is the foundation of everything we do at Android and Google Play, and because every user matters, we have updated our approach to technical quality with more emphasis on the user experience.
Google Play’s technical quality bar now uses new user-perceived crash and ANR metrics, which we evaluate on a per-device basis as well as overall. We have introduced an 8% quality bar at the device level, and we now steer users on Google Play away from titles that do not meet this threshold on their phone. To help you meet these guidelines, we’ve launched a number of new features in Android vitals to make it easier to monitor and act on issues. Learn more about these features in this session and about our quality bar in this blog post.
- Performance is another key aspect of technical quality and for a smooth user experience, games on Google Play should aim for at least 30 frames per second. To help you reach this goal, we’ve just launched frame rate metrics for games in Android vitals. You can see these metrics in Play Console or with the Developer Reporting API. In due course, we will start steering users away from games that cannot achieve 20 frames per second on their phone. Learn more about the new metric in this session.
|Android vitals in Play Console now offers frame rate metrics to help you understand how smooth and fluid your game feels to users.
We’ve also introduced a range of new tools and services to help you improve the quality of your game.
- We announced updates to Firebase Crashlytics to improve the quality of Unity stack traces, including Unity on-demand-fatal event reporting. We also now support the symbolication of native Android ANRs, and will soon support memory debugging for GWP-ASAN-enabled games.
- We’re also introducing a suite of Adaptability APIs to the Android Game Development Kit to help your game respond to changing device performance and thermal scenarios. The Android Dynamic Performance Framework includes a hinting library that can send signals about your workload to the CPU, so your game can tap into performance when you need it and save power when you don’t. There’s also a Thermal API to listen during runtime for when the device is about to thermally throttle so that you can adjust your workloads to smooth performance without overheating the device.Learn more about these updates in this session.
Connecting with players
Building and connecting with your players is key to success for many games, which is why we’re creating more opportunities to help you find new players or engage and re-acquire existing ones.
- We relaunched our LiveOps tools as Promotional content and made it available to more developers. Eligible developers can upload promotional assets in Play Console to promote in-game events, offers and deals, and major updates, and customize that content for new or returning users.
- Custom store listings allow you to create up to 50 different store listings with different descriptions and graphic assets based on country, pre-registration status, and more. We’ve now introduced inactive custom store listings, so you can target churned users with a different story about how to come back to your game.
- We also announced the early access program for Machine Translation in the Play Console, which can translate your game’s strings in minutes. This uses Google Translate and the best-in-class transformer-based language models for quality translation in over 8 languages including Simplified Chinese and Japanese. Sign up here to be one of the first developers to try it.
Reaching higher with large screens
Large screens offer new opportunities for an enhanced gaming experience. Our research shows that the majority of phone owners have access to a large screen, like a tablet, Chromebook, or PC, and gamers want to play their games across those screens. Large screens give you the real estate to implement high-resolution graphics, take advantage of multi-tasking or foldable-specific experiences, and add keyboard, mouse, and game controller support to give users more control.
The beauty of Android is that your games can be easily adapted for all these screens and we’ve made several updates to make the user experience better.
|Easily adapt your game to different form factors so your users can play whenever and wherever they want.
(Example shown here is Asphalt 9: Legends, subject to game availability and PC compatibility.)
Although each form factor has its unique advantages, you don’t need to customize your game for each one independently. Watch this session to ensure great playability across large-screen platforms.
- Google Play Games for PC, now in beta in 13 countries, is expanding to Japan and countries in Europe in the coming months and is also expanding its catalog to include top games like Garena Free Fire, Ludo King, and MapleStory M.
- And starting today, we’re making it much easier to join Google Play Games on PC with your existing mobile build, whether you support x86 or not. Through our partnership with Intel, you can now submit your mobile build while you work on optimization — no need to recompile for x86 right away.
You can learn more about these updates in this blog post or express interest in joining Google Play Games on PC.
Google Play Games on PC is available to download in 13 countries. Please see g.co/googleplaygames for more information. Game titles may vary by region.
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