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Notes from Google Play: making Play work for everyone


Hello,

As Apps Partnerships lead for Google Play, I have the amazing opportunity of meeting with many companies who share great ideas and feedback on how we can support you creating and growing successful businesses.

In this latest edition of Notes from Google Play, I want to share some of your work that has inspired us, alongside what is top of mind for me and our team. What sums it up for me is our focus on making Google Play work for everyone. It’s about making Play work better for all of you - the people behind apps and games - making it easier for you to grow apps and games business, and helping you better serve everyone, everywhere.


I will kick us off by sharing the story of OLIO, one of the many apps that has inspired me this year. OLIO is a community-driven app that is fighting to reduce food waste. The app provides a way for people to easily give away food to neighbors. Founders, Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, had a goal to create local food sharing networks across the world and ensure nothing of value goes to waste. Having first launched the app in the UK, Tessa and Saasha’s belief in their core mission helped them expand the app to 62 countries and counting, partnering with global stores to help them reach zero waste along the way.

The success of the OLIO app is a tale of two women from different backgrounds, with the same dream, made for the benefit of everyone and our planet. For me, this is what it’s all about: ensuring that everyone is empowered to build a successful business that can benefit people around the globe.
 
 
So let me share more about some of my favorite tools and programs that we recently launched with this goal in mind.

Apps and games by everyone

Regardless of the size of your company, we want to make sure you have the insights and tools that enable you to make more informed decisions, and ultimately make it easy for you to build and improve your app or game business. Let’s take a look at privacy and security as an example, as this is a critical topic.

We have various tools and programs to help you build safe and secure experiences for everyone and protect your business, including the Play Integrity APIData Safety sectionPrivacy Sandbox on Android, and also the newly launched Google Play SDK Index.The index provides data and insights about more than 100 of the most widely used commercial SDKs. This can help you navigate third-party SDKs and align with Google Play policies, so that you make more informed decisions for your business and your users.


We also have programs designed for companies with various needs, from media companies building experiences across devices, to startups solving local problems in the first cohort of Appscale Academy in India. These 100 promising app innovators have already inspired us with their drive and creativity to build high-quality apps that serve and help people across India, and the world.


We’re also excited to continue investing in programs designed to help grow businesses both big and small. These include the Google Play Partner Program which launched in March and is designed to help larger games businesses reach their growth and performance goals. We also just opened submissions for the Indie Games Accelerator and Indie Games Festival programs. We were particularly inspired by the alumni of the 2021 edition, and you can hear directly from Jimjum Studios in Israel, who create games that encourage kindness, community building, and generosity, in the first episode of Google Play Coffee breaks:


Beyond the size of the company, apps and games are built and run by people. So we are continuously investing in programs to drive diversity in the ecosystem and empower the next generations of app and game makers. Programs like Change the Game and our investment in organizations driving positive change in the games industry are just a couple of the programs I’m particularly proud of.


Apps and games for everyone

We believe everyone should have easy access to great app and game experiences. This enables people to lead better lives, and it helps you grow your businesses.

In order to help with this, we’ve made some updates that make it easier for everyone to access apps and games at a price that is right for them, which in turn helps you better monetise your apps or games. For example, you asked for more flexibility and less complexity in how you sell your subscriptions, so we launched new subscription capabilities. You can now create multiple base plans and offers for each subscription, all while significantly reducing the cost and complexity of managing an ever-increasing number of SKUs. Whether your aim is to better connect with people that are new to your business, or to retain your loyal users, you have the ability to create offers for everyone.

We’ve also invested in new tools that help people pay for your apps and games using the methods that suit them best, helping to improve your monetisation. Google Play Commerce provides buyer support in over 170 countries, and we’ve further increased access by adding to our payment method library, which now includes over 300 local payment methods in 70 countries. We also made changes to help you better adapt to local purchasing power by adding the option to lower prices, starting at the equivalent of 5 US cents in any market.


Serving people better doesn’t only mean adapting pricing, but also optimizing your apps and games for the devices they are using, so they can get the best experience. Whether it’s phones, wearables, tablets or TVs. We introduced new tools and resources to help you create better experiences on large screens and launched Google Play Games beta, to help you expand your game’s reach to PCs.


Celebrating you

I started by highlighting OLIO as a business that was brought into existence by newcomers to the apps space, and yet managed to have a positive impact across the world. This is only one of so many inspiring examples out there. We’ve just launched #WeArePlay, a new campaign that celebrates you, the global community of people behind apps and games, and your unique stories. It represents teams of all sizes — some founded by longtime coders and others by tech newcomers, some based in big cities and others in smaller towns. These are short stories that tell personal journeys of making apps or games that are solving a problem or bringing joy to people everywhere.



I look forward to watching you all continue to build amazing app and game experiences, grow your businesses, and enthrall your users. Here’s to you and your achievements - let’s continue to celebrate every step forward and each small win. That’s what makes us all grow.



Take care of yourselves and each other,

Sarah Karam

Director, Global Apps Partnerships, Google Play

#WeArePlay | Discover the people building apps & games businesses

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Global Developer Marketing

Over 2.5 billion people come to Google Play every month to find apps and games created by millions of businesses from all over the world.

#WeArePlay celebrates you: the global community of people behind these businesses.

Each one of you creating an app or game has a different story to tell. Some of you have been coders since childhood, others are newbies who got into tech later in life. Some of you are based in busy cities, others in smaller towns. No matter who you are or how different your story is, you all have one thing in common - you have the passion to turn an idea into a business impacting people all over the world.

Now, and over the coming months, #WeArePlay celebrates you by sharing your stories.



We are kicking off the series with the story of Yvonne and Alyssa, the London-based mother and daughter duo who created Frobelles - a dress up game increasing representation of African and Caribbean hair styles.



You can now also discover the stories of friends Ronaldo, Carlos and Thadeu from Hand Talk Translator (Brazil - my home country!), art lover Zuzanna from DailyArt (Poland) and travel-loving couple Ina & Jonas from TravelSpend (Germany).





To all apps and games businesses - thank you for being a part of the Google Play community. Your dedication and ambition is helping millions of people learn, connect, relax, exercise, find jobs, give back, laugh, have fun, escape to fantasy lands, and so much more.

Read more and stay tuned for many more stories at g.co/play/weareplay


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#WeArePlay | Discover the people building apps & games businesses

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Global Developer Marketing

Over 2.5 billion people come to Google Play every month to find apps and games created by millions of businesses from all over the world.

#WeArePlay celebrates you: the global community of people behind these businesses.

Each one of you creating an app or game has a different story to tell. Some of you have been coders since childhood, others are newbies who got into tech later in life. Some of you are based in busy cities, others in smaller towns. No matter who you are or how different your story is, you all have one thing in common - you have the passion to turn an idea into a business impacting people all over the world.

Now, and over the coming months, #WeArePlay celebrates you by sharing your stories.




We are kicking off the series with the story of Yvonne and Alyssa, the London-based mother and daughter duo who created Frobelles - a dress up game increasing representation of African and Caribbean hair styles.



You can now also discover the stories of friends Ronaldo, Carlos and Thadeu from Hand Talk Translator (Brazil - my home country!), art lover Zuzanna from DailyArt (Poland) and travel-loving couple Ina & Jonas from TravelSpend (Germany).

To all apps and games businesses - thank you for being a part of the Google Play community. Your dedication and ambition is helping millions of people learn, connect, relax, exercise, find jobs, give back, laugh, have fun, escape to fantasy lands, and so much more.

Read more and stay tuned for many more stories at g.co/play/weareplay


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Grow your games with Google Play’s Indie Games Accelerator & Festival

Posted by Leticia Lago, P&E Developer Marketing

Google Play Indie Games Festival and Accelerator 

At Google Play, we are committed to helping developers of all sizes reach their full potential, and go further, faster. To continue supporting indies as they bring some of the most innovative titles to players worldwide, today we’re opening submissions to the 2022 edition of our two annual programs - the Indie Games Accelerator and Festival.

Through these programs, independent game developers and small studios can boost their game’s visibility, get training, and tap into a network of gaming experts:

  • If you are a small games studio looking for help to launch or grow a new title, enter the Accelerator to get exclusive training by mentors and industry experts;
  • Or, if you have already created and launched a high quality game that is ready for the spotlight, enter the Festival in Japan, South Korea or Europe for a chance to win promotions and reach new players.

Submissions for both Indie Games programs are open from June 1st to July 1st, 2022.



For more updates about Google Play’s programs, resources and tools for indie game developers, follow @GooglePlayBiz on Twitter & Google Play business community on LinkedIn.

Submissions now open: Indie games programs to help developers grow with Google Play

Posted by Leticia Lago, P&E Developer Marketing

Google Play Indie Games Festival and Accelerator 

At Google Play we’re committed to helping developers of all sizes reach their full potential, and go further, faster. Today we’re opening submissions for our two annual programs supporting the indie game community, as they bring some of the most innovative titles to players worldwide.

If you are an indie games developer, check out our Accelerator and Festival programs, where you have the chance to boost your game’s visibility, get training, and tap into our community of gaming experts.

These programs are designed to help you grow no matter what stage you are in:

  • If you are a small games studio looking for help to launch or grow a new title, enter the Accelerator to get exclusive training by mentors and industry experts;
  • Or, if you have already created and launched a high quality game that is ready for the spotlight, enter the Festival in selected European countries, Japan or South Korea. for a chance to win promotions and reach new players.

After being selected as a Festival finalist and participating in the Accelerator in 2021, Co-founder of Jimjum Studios, Nimrod Kimhi said "being in the Accelerator probably saved us two years worth of mistakes." Read below to learn more about the programs.

Submissions are open until July 1st.


Indie Games Programs 

Supercharge your growth with mentorship & live masterclasses

If you’re an indie developer who is early in your journey - either close to launching a new game or have recently launched a title - this high-impact program is designed for you.

With the help of our network of gaming experts, the Indie Games Accelerator provides education and mentorship to help you build, launch and grow successfully.

Selected game studios will be invited to take part in the 10-week acceleration program starting in September 2022. This is a highly-tailored program for small game developers from across 70+ eligible countries. It includes a series of online masterclasses, talks and gaming workshops, hosted by some of the best in the industry.

You’ll also get the chance to meet and connect with other passionate developers from around the world who are looking to take their games to the next level.

Apply to the Accelerator by July 1st.


Indie Games Accelerator 

Win promotions that put your indie game in the spotlight

If you have recently launched a new, high quality game on Google Play, enter your game to be showcased at the Indie Games Festival and win promotions.

Once again, we are hosting three international competitions for indie game developers from selected European countries, Japan or South Korea.


The Festival jury consists of both gaming experts and Googlers, who are charged with selecting creative indie games that are ready for the spotlight.

Top indie games will be featured during the online Festival finals, where you can get your game discovered by game industry experts and players worldwide. The winners will also get featured on Google Play, prizes and additional promotions such as campaigns worth 100,000 EUR.


Apply to the Festivals in Europe, Japan or South Korea by July 1st.

Indie games Festival 

All submissions must be completed by 1 July @ 1 pm CET and meet all eligibility requirements.

For more updates about all of our programs, resources and tools for indie game developers, follow us on Twitter @GooglePlayBiz and Google Play business community on LinkedIn.


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What’s new in Google Play

Posted by Alex Musil, Product Management at Google Play

Blue graphic with Google Play logo 

At this year’s Google I/O, we focused on three major ways we can help you continue growing your business on Google Play:

  • Privacy and security initiatives to keep the ecosystem safe for users and developers, like the new Google Play SDK Index
  • Tools to help you improve your app quality across the app lifecycle
  • New ways to help you acquire users and engage with existing ones through features like LiveOps, as well as ways to drive revenue growth with new subscription capabilities

You can check out all the updates in our I/O session, or keep reading for a quick overview of the new features that will help take your business even further.

Privacy and security initiatives to protect developers and users

Over the last few years, we've been working on tools to help make SDKs better and safer for everyone, including SDK providers, app developers, and ultimately, our collective end users.

  • In 2020, we launched Google Play SDK Console, which provides usage statistics, crash reporting, and the ability for SDK providers to communicate to app developers through Play Console and Android Studio. Today, we launched Google Play SDK Index, a new public portal that lists the most widely used commercial SDKs, and provides data and insights about each one.
    The index includes over 100 SDKs with information about which app permissions they use, statistics on the apps that use them, and if the SDK provider is committed to ensuring that their SDK’s code follows Google Play policies. You can use it to inform your decisions about which SDKs and specific versions to use in your app.
Google Play SDK Index shows reliability and safety signals so you can decide if an SDK is right for your business and your users.

Google Play SDK Index shows reliability and safety signals so you can decide if an SDK is right for your business and your users.

  • We’re also protecting the work you put into your apps with Play’s app integrity tools. Play App Signing is used to securely sign millions of apps on Google Play and helps ensure that app updates can be trusted. From now on, Play App Signing will use Google Cloud Key Management to protect signing keys. This means you can review public documentation including the storage specifications and security practices that Google uses to protect your keys. We’ll soon be using Cloud Key Management for all newly generated keys, followed by securely migrating eligible existing keys.
  • Another new feature of Play App Signing rolling out soon is the ability for any app to perform an app signing key rotation. In the event of an incident or just as a security best practice, you’ll be able to trigger an annual key rotation from within Play Console. To maximize security, Google Play Protect will also verify your app updates using rotated keys for older Android releases that don’t support rotation, going all the way back to Android Nougat.
  • We also offer an API that you can use to help protect your app, your IP, and your users from abuse and attacks. The new Play Integrity API is now available to all apps and games to detect fraudulent and risky interactions, such as traffic from modified or pirated app versions and rooted or compromised devices.
  • In addition to protecting users, we also want them to feel safe when downloading apps and games from Google Play. The new Data safety section gives you a way to showcase your approach to privacy and security so that users can confidently download your app. If you haven't yet, please complete your Data safety form by July 20th. Check out our Help Center article for more information.
  • In other data privacy news, we’ve released the first developer preview of the Privacy Sandbox on Android, our initiative to build new technologies that improve user privacy while still enabling effective advertising. Check out our blog post to learn more and join our email newsletter for the latest updates.

More features to help you improve app quality across your app lifecycle

Your app quality affects everything from your ability to engage and retain users to your discoverability and promotability on the Play Store.

  • Android vitals is your definitive source of technical quality metrics on Play. Now, with the new Developer Reporting API, you can access Android vitals metrics and issues data outside of Play Console, including crash and ANR rates, counts, clusters, and stack traces and integrate them into your own tools and workflows.
  • You can also now view Android vitals data at the country level to help you troubleshoot and prioritize by location.
  • And we’ve made it easier to use Android vitals alongside Firebase Crashlytics by aligning issue names and enabling you to see Play Track information in Crashlytics when you link your Play app with your Crashlytics app.

Beyond Android vitals, there are other new features to help you across the development lifecycle:

  • Reach and devices makes it easier to plan for better quality by providing insights on your user and issue distribution. It now includes revenue and revenue growth metrics for apps that monetize on Play, so you can build revenue-based business cases for quality and reach.
  • We also overhauled the Device catalog to make it easier to understand and use. The Overview page now includes install data, and you can filter by new device attributes like shared libraries. You can also see device variants by RAM and Android version, which lets you quickly identify the most common variant.
  • It is now much easier to test your app on different form factors. You can independently run internal and open testing on many form factors including Android Automotive, and soon, Wear OS.
  • To help you keep users up to date, the In-app Updates API will now let your app users know if there’s an update available within 15 minutes instead of up to 24 hours, including showing your “What’s new” text within the update screen.

To learn more about all these launches, check out our session on app quality.


Marketing and monetization features to help you grow your business

Google Play can help grow your business with new ways to acquire new users, engage your existing ones, and drive revenue growth.

  • Your store listing is often the first thing a prospective user sees about your app. To help you make the right first impression, you can now make up to 50 custom store listings, each with analytics and unique deep links, so you can show different listings to users depending on where they come from.
Listing details page

Developers can now create up to 50 custom store listings, each with analytics and unique deep links.

  • We’ve also made some major improvements to Store Listing Experiments. You’ll now see results more quickly for most experiments, with more transparency and contrul to help you anticipate how long each experiment is likely to need.
  • Deep links are an important tool when trying to improve engagement with your in-app content, so we’re making it easier to keep your deep link setup complete and up-to-date. Soon, we’re launching a new Play Console page dedicated to deep links with all the information and tools related to your app’s deep links in one convenient place.
  • Another helpful tool is LiveOps, a feature that allows you to submit content to be considered for featuring on the Play Store. By surfacing limited-time offers, events, and major updates for your app or game, LiveOps drives 5% more 28-day active users and 4% higher revenue for developers using the feature than those that do not. If you’d like to join our beta program, you can learn more and express your interest here.
  • Since last year, we’ve made some big changes to Play Commerce to help you do business with users with regional payment method preferences, such as cash and prepaid. We’ve expanded our payment method library to include over 300 local payment methods in 70 countries, and added eWallet payment methods such as MerPay in Japan, KCP in Korea, and Mercado Pago in Mexico.
  • We also expanded pricing options with ultra-low price points to help you increase conversions and grow your revenue. Now you can price your products as low as the equivalent of 5 US cents in any market. This will allow you to adjust your prices to better reflect local purchasing power, run locally relevant sales and promotions, and support micro-transactions such as tipping.
  • We launched new subscription capabilities along with a reimagined developer experience, making it easier to sell subscriptions on Google Play. For each subscription, you can now configure multiple base plans and offers. This allows you to sell the subscription in multiple ways and reduces operational costs by removing the need to create and manage an ever-increasing number of SKUs.

    Each base plan in a subscription defines a different billing period and renewal type - e.g a monthly auto-renewing plan, an annual auto-renewing plan, and a 1-month prepaid plan. A base plan can have multiple offers supporting different stages of the subscription lifecycle - e.g. an acquisition offer for limited time free trial, or an upgrade offer to incentivize subscribers to move from a prepaid plan to an auto-renewing plan. Offers are a great way to acquire new subscribers, incentivize upgrades, and retain existing subscribers.

Easily configure your subscription base plans and offers without having to create additional SKUs. [previous configuration (left); new configuration (right)]

For each subscription, you can now configure multiple base plans and offers.

  • New prepaid plans allow you to offer users access for a fixed amount of time. Users can easily extend their access period at any time before plan expiration. Users can purchase these top-ups in your app, or right on the Play Store subscription screen. They make a great option for regions where pay-as-you go is standard.
  • In-App Messaging is a new way to prevent you from losing subscribers due to a declined payment. Simply use the In-App Messaging API to check with Play when a user opens the app. If the user’s payment has been declined, a message will remind them to update their payment information.
    Prevent subscriber loss due to declined payments with the In-App Messaging API.

    Prevent subscriber loss due to declined payments with the In-App Messaging API.

    These features are all available with the latest version of Play Billing Library 5.0. To learn more about these and other tools to help grow your business, check out “Power your Success with new acquisition, engagement and monetization tools.”

    Thank you for continuing to be a part of the thriving Google Play ecosystem. We can’t wait to see what you build next.


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New flexible tools to grow your subscription business

Posted by Steve Hartford, Product Manager, Google Play

Illustrated image with light blue background and Google Play iconography

Digital subscriptions continue to be one of the fastest growing ways for developers to monetize on Google Play. As the subscriptions business model evolves, many developers have asked us for more flexibility and less complexity in how they sell subscriptions.

To meet those needs, we've reimagined the developer experience for selling subscriptions on Play. Today, we’re launching new subscription capabilities and a new Console UI to help you grow your business. At its foundation, we’ve separated what the subscription benefits are from how you sell the subscription. For each subscription, you can now configure multiple base plans and offers. This allows you to sell your subscription in multiple ways, reducing operational costs by removing the need to create and manage an ever-increasing number of SKUs.

You may have already noticed the change in Play Console as we’ve taken existing subscription SKUs and separated them into subscriptions, base plans, and offers. The new subscriptions configuration behaves as before, with no immediate need to update your apps or backend integrations.

 Example subscription configuration

Example of a subscription configuration

More flexibility to improve reach, conversion, and retention

Each base plan in a subscription defines a different billing period and renewal type. For example, you can create a subscription with a monthly auto-renewing plan, an annual auto-renewing plan, and a 1-month prepaid plan.

Prepaid plans are an entirely new option that provides users with access to benefits for a fixed duration. Users can extend this access by purchasing top-ups in your app, or in the Play Store. Prepaid plans allow you to reach users in regions where pay-as-you-go is standard, including India and Southeast Asia. They can also provide an alternative for users not ready to purchase an auto-renewing subscription.

A base plan can have multiple offers supporting different stages of the subscription lifecycle — whether to acquire new subscribers, incentivize upgrades, or retain existing subscribers. Whenever users could benefit from the value your subscriptions provide, we want to help you reach them with an offer they find worthwhile and convenient.

Offers provide a wide range of pricing and eligibility options. While the base plan contains the price available to all users, offers provide alternate pricing to eligible users. You can make offers that are available everywhere their base plan is available, or you can create offers for specific regions. For example:

  • Acquisition offers allow users to try your subscription for free or at a discounted price
  • Upgrade and crossgrade offers incentivize users to benefit from longer billing periods or higher tiers of service
  • Upgrade offers can also help you move subscribers from a prepaid plan to an auto-renewing plan

If you want even more flexibility, you can create custom offers for which you decide the business logic, such as second-chance free trials, or win-back offers for lapsed subscribers.

Better metrics to understand your business

We’ve improved reporting by updating how metrics are calculated in Play Console. Metrics such as new subscription counts, conversion and retention rates, and cancellations are more consistent and calculated in line with financial metrics. You can now directly compare data between Play Console and the Real Time Developer Notifications API. Additionally, subscription metrics are now cumulative. This means that data reported for previous days won’t change over time.

Get started

Starting today, all these new subscription capabilities are available. To learn more please visit the Help Center. When you’re ready to integrate, check out this guide, documentation, and sample app.

Please let us know how we’re doing and contact us with any issues you may encounter.

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Kicking off Google Play Coffee breaks, with Jimjum Studios

Posted by Leo Olebe, Managing Director, Games Partnerships, Google Play

Today we are launching Google Play Coffee breaks, a new series where members of our partnerships team get together with apps and games companies to exchange tips and personal lessons gained from the industry, as well as insights gained from participating in some of our Play programs. All in enough time to fit into your coffee break!

To kick it all off, I enjoyed a virtual coffee with Nimrod Kimhi, Co-founder & CEO, at Jimjum Studios, a small games company from Israel. They participated in the 2021 edition of the Indie Games Festival, making it into the top 10 finalists, and later took part in the Indie Games Accelerator. We felt it was time for us to check back in on the growth they’ve been achieving.

Watch the full Coffee breaks episode and read my reflections below:

Launching their first game, Froglike: The Frog Roguelike, just one year ago in 2021, the team of five friends have already made an impact on the mobile game ecosystem early on in their business journey.

Nim described how their studio is composed of two brothers, two childhood friends, and a musician who they convinced to get onboard their team. Each has a mix of talents and expertise which compliment each other and fit together. And I think this is one of the most important parts of succeeding in this industry. A great team is able to challenge each other and put new ideas on the table, but also come together and agree on those big decisions that are going to move your business forward.

I really enjoyed catching up with Nim during our first Google Play Coffee breaks. What I found most rewarding was to hear directly from Nim about his experience of the Indie Games Accelerator and Festival. It was actually Jimjum’s chief game designer who initially convinced Nim to sign up for the contest. Despite his initial hesitations of how the competition might interrupt their progress with building the game, Nim says now that the learnings they got from the program saved their team three years worth of mistakes.


Illustration of two people next to a giant clipboard 

Lessons learned in the game industry

The first? Test early. Nim couldn’t have said it better - make the MVP of your product and get feedback from the gaming community as soon as possible. This is even more important with games because you do have that abstract and subjective layer of what it means to be ‘fun’. You must go through that constant loop of feedback from players and iterations of your game, even though it can be tempting to just push forward with your artistic vision.

I think this is a really important insight to highlight. From my own experiences here at Google Play and in the mobile gaming industry, one of the most exciting parts about growing a games business is handing your game to the players and discovering ideas that you hadn’t considered yourself. It’s about being flexible, rolling with the punches, and being open to the learning journey rather than rigidly sticking to your original blueprint. Learning from others is what is going to take your game from good to great.

The second? Don’t lose the core heart of your game. Nim described how every team should know and agree on their Northstar when designing the game, and stick to it. It is easy to get distracted by all the analytics and feedback - and also just through the noise that is the mobile industry and the commercial pressures of making a game. But I agree with Nim, it is so important to never lose the heart of what you are building, and your passion behind it, in order to create a truly unique experience for your users.


Illustration of two people high fiving 

Success for small Indie studios

After participating in our Indie Games Accelerator, I was interested to hear from Jimjum about the learnings they had gained, and how they were able to use them to build such a solid foundation on Google Play and beyond.

One of the main areas that Nim raised was the need for every game to have a solid marketing strategy. Nim’s key focus is to work on a distribution plan, using channels like online communities to drive awareness of their title. A big part of the strategy is to find key influencers in the field and get them involved with their game. It is also about having a launch phase that allows them to take it step-by-step, rather than one big launch. This meant waiting until they were confident their game was ready, prioritizing certain geographical locations before others, and - of course - testing every step of the way.

As well as a marketing strategy, I’d add that it’s also about being open to the learning journey. Absorb as much knowledge as you can. There are so many others out there who have been down this road before, so learn from their successes and (perhaps more importantly) their mistakes. As you grow, use your unique perspectives and ideas to then share what you know with others and help build that circle of reciprocity.

Finally, in a world of millions of gamers, you can find your audience. It may take longer than you imagine, it may be harder, but they are there.

It was a genuine pleasure to chat to Nim about his experiences. I can’t wait to see Jimjum’s continued growth and new gaming adventures. It is studios like Jimjum that inspire me and my team to keep supporting indies in all ways that we can - whether that’s through programs like the Indie Games Accelerator and the Indie Games Festival (you can sign up now to hear when submissions open for the 2022 editions) or through more resources and tools to help them grow even further.

We are looking forward to continuing to learn from more businesses, and see what you all do next. Stay tuned for the next episode of Coffee Breaks.

Do you have any questions for Jimjum? What are your own tips for other indie studios? Share them in the comments below.

Kicking off Google Play Coffee breaks, with Jimjum Studios

Posted by Leo Olebe, Managing Director, Games Partnerships, Google Play

Today we are launching Google Play Coffee breaks, a new series where members of our partnerships team get together with apps and games companies to exchange tips and personal lessons gained from the industry, as well as insights gained from participating in some of our Play programs. All in enough time to fit into your coffee break!

To kick it all off, I enjoyed a virtual coffee with Nimrod Kimhi, Co-founder & CEO, at Jimjum Studios, a small games company from Israel. They participated in the 2021 edition of the Indie Games Festival, making it into the top 10 finalists, and later took part in the Indie Games Accelerator. We felt it was time for us to check back in on the growth they’ve been achieving.

Watch the full Coffee breaks episode and read my reflections below:

Launching their first game, Froglike: The Frog Roguelike, just one year ago in 2021, the team of five friends have already made an impact on the mobile game ecosystem early on in their business journey.

Nim described how their studio is composed of two brothers, two childhood friends, and a musician who they convinced to get onboard their team. Each has a mix of talents and expertise which compliment each other and fit together. And I think this is one of the most important parts of succeeding in this industry. A great team is able to challenge each other and put new ideas on the table, but also come together and agree on those big decisions that are going to move your business forward.

I really enjoyed catching up with Nim during our first Google Play Coffee breaks. What I found most rewarding was to hear directly from Nim about his experience of the Indie Games Accelerator and Festival. It was actually Jimjum’s chief game designer who initially convinced Nim to sign up for the contest. Despite his initial hesitations of how the competition might interrupt their progress with building the game, Nim says now that the learnings they got from the program saved their team three years worth of mistakes.


Illustration of two people next to a giant clipboard 

Lessons learned in the game industry

The first? Test early. Nim couldn’t have said it better - make the MVP of your product and get feedback from the gaming community as soon as possible. This is even more important with games because you do have that abstract and subjective layer of what it means to be ‘fun’. You must go through that constant loop of feedback from players and iterations of your game, even though it can be tempting to just push forward with your artistic vision.

I think this is a really important insight to highlight. From my own experiences here at Google Play and in the mobile gaming industry, one of the most exciting parts about growing a games business is handing your game to the players and discovering ideas that you hadn’t considered yourself. It’s about being flexible, rolling with the punches, and being open to the learning journey rather than rigidly sticking to your original blueprint. Learning from others is what is going to take your game from good to great.

The second? Don’t lose the core heart of your game. Nim described how every team should know and agree on their Northstar when designing the game, and stick to it. It is easy to get distracted by all the analytics and feedback - and also just through the noise that is the mobile industry and the commercial pressures of making a game. But I agree with Nim, it is so important to never lose the heart of what you are building, and your passion behind it, in order to create a truly unique experience for your users.


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Success for small Indie studios

After participating in our Indie Games Accelerator, I was interested to hear from Jimjum about the learnings they had gained, and how they were able to use them to build such a solid foundation on Google Play and beyond.

One of the main areas that Nim raised was the need for every game to have a solid marketing strategy. Nim’s key focus is to work on a distribution plan, using channels like online communities to drive awareness of their title. A big part of the strategy is to find key influencers in the field and get them involved with their game. It is also about having a launch phase that allows them to take it step-by-step, rather than one big launch. This meant waiting until they were confident their game was ready, prioritizing certain geographical locations before others, and - of course - testing every step of the way.

As well as a marketing strategy, I’d add that it’s also about being open to the learning journey. Absorb as much knowledge as you can. There are so many others out there who have been down this road before, so learn from their successes and (perhaps more importantly) their mistakes. As you grow, use your unique perspectives and ideas to then share what you know with others and help build that circle of reciprocity.

Finally, in a world of millions of gamers, you can find your audience. It may take longer than you imagine, it may be harder, but they are there.

It was a genuine pleasure to chat to Nim about his experiences. I can’t wait to see Jimjum’s continued growth and new gaming adventures. It is studios like Jimjum that inspire me and my team to keep supporting indies in all ways that we can - whether that’s through programs like the Indie Games Accelerator and the Indie Games Festival (you can sign up now to hear when submissions open for the 2022 editions) or through more resources and tools to help them grow even further.

We are looking forward to continuing to learn from more businesses, and see what you all do next. Stay tuned for the next episode of Coffee Breaks.

Do you have any questions for Jimjum? What are your own tips for other indie studios? Share them in the comments below.

Things to know from the 2022 Android App Excellence Summit

Posted by The Google Play Team

Android App Excellence Summit 

Creating a consistent and intuitive user experience is more important than ever to grow your audience and scale your business. To help you, Google Play, Android, and Firebase shared the latest insights and best practices on building high quality Android apps, improving developer productivity, and creating the best possible experience across all Android devices at the 2022 Android App Excellence Summit.

If you missed any sessions, we have you covered! You can watch all the content from the summit on our #AppExcellenceSummit playlist here.

Some highlights include;

Curious for more? Get additional resources of everything we shared at the 2022 Android App Excellence Summit by visiting g.co/android/appexcellence.

We are committed to empowering the developer ecosystem to build high quality experiences across all Android devices. We greatly appreciate all that joined us during our App Excellence Summit and we’re looking forward to hearing your feedback. Keep in touch with us on Twitter with #AppExcellenceSummit.