Google made a handful of announcements related to the Play Store at its Games Developer Summit this morning. Firstly, Google launched a new “Google Play Partner Program for Games” to provide additional tools to some of the largest developers and studios on Google Play. The program targets develops that have “more than $5 million annually in games consumer spend.”
The benefits of the program include enhanced business support from Google Play and faster releases with a priority publishing queue. It also includes pre-launch tools like pre-registration testing, access codes and store listing experiments for pre-registration campaigns. The program also comes with additional security protection, including automatic approval for Play Integrity API usage. It also includes invitations to early access programs and more. The company didn’t provide specific information about which Google Play game developers will get access to the new program.
Google also announced that the Play Store’s “Play as you download” feature is coming to all Android 12 users soon. Play as you download allows users to get into gameplay quickly after a small download while remaining game assets are fetched in the background. To do so, Google Play analyzes crowdsourced first-play experience filesystem access patterns and automatically identifies assets to optimize. The feature first launched as part of a beta program last year. Google didn’t provide additional information about a launch date.
The company also revealed that it started to roll out the Google Play Games for PC Beta in select markets in January. Google says the standalone Windows PC application allows users to play a “high quality catalog” of Google Play games. The company shared that gameplay across tablets, foldables and Chromebooks is on the rise and that it has seen Android app usage experiencing a 50% year-over-year increase on Chromebooks, largely led by games.
Google has also updated the Android Game Development Extension to allow for debugging between Android Studio, the integrated development software for Google’s Android operating system and Visual Studio, Microsoft’s integrated development platform. In addition, the company has added a new Memory Advice API that helps developers understand and determine how close a device is to a low memory kill. Google has also fully launched its Android GPU Inspector Frame Profiler to help developers achieve better frame rates and battery life.
The company also revealed that it recently launched Strategic guidance in Console, which provides an intuitive way to help developers evaluate how well their game is monetizing and find opportunities to grow revenue. For context, Google Console is the platform used by Google Play and Android developers to publish and monitor their app’s performance.
“At our Google for Games Developer Summit, we shared how teams across Google have been continuing to build the next generation of services, tools and features to help you create and monetize high quality experiences, more programs tailored to your needs, and more educational resources with best practices,” said Greg Hartrell, the product director of games on Play/Android at Google, in a statement. “We want to help you throughout the game development lifecycle, by making it easier to develop high quality games and deliver these great experiences to growing audiences and devices.”