Tag Archives: Google Play

The winners of the Google Play Indie Games Festival are…

Posted by Leticia Lago, Head of Developer Marketing, EMEA

We wrapped up the Indie Games Festivals in Europe, Japan, and South Korea. You can now check out the three winners and Top 10 finalists from each of the contests.

Indie

The Google Play Indie Games Festival celebrates the creativity and innovation that small games developers bring to the Play Store.

We shortlisted 20 finalists for each contest after receiving hundreds of submissions. The finalists were to showcase their art at events in Warsaw, Tokyo, and Seoul. However, this year’s unprecedented events saw the finalists presenting to jury members online. The juries then deliberated to select the winners.

Winning developers receive prize packages designed to help them grow their business on Android and Google Play. Each package offers promotions on the Google Play Store, consultations with members of the Google Play team, Google hardware, promotion campaigns, and more.

Join us in congratulating the developers and try out their games.

Europe

Image

(In alphabetical order)

Cookies Must Die by Rebel Twins (Poland)

inbento by Afterburn (Poland)

The White Door by Rusty Lake (Netherlands)

The other finalist to make the Top 10 as selected by the jury members are, in alphabetical order:

top

60 Parsecs! by Robot Gentleman (Poland)

Alien Escape by KORION Interactive (Germany)

Alt-Frequencies by Accidental Queens (France)

Doors: Awakening by Big Loop Studios (Bulgaria)

My Diggy Dog 2 by King Bird Games (Russia)

Traffix by WebAvenue Unipessoal Lda (Portugal)

Void Tyrant by Quite Fresh Ltd. (United Kingdom)


Japan

winners

(In alphabetical order)

GIGAFALL by Shiki Game Studio

METBOY! by REBUILD GAMES

Wasurenaide, otona ni natte mo by GAGEX Co.,Ltd.

The other final list to make the Top 10 as selected by the jury members are, in alphabetical order:

top
Boku to hakubutsukan by oridio Inc.

GummyShooter by simatten

Home Fighter by hap Inc.

MonsterTrader by Mitsuhiro Okada

Snowman Story by Odencat

World for Two by Seventh rank

Zelle by Odencat


South Korea

winners

(In alphabetical order)

Heroes Restaurant by Team Tapas

Magic Survival by LEME

Project Mars by Moontm

The other finalist to make the Top 10 as selected by the online audience and the jury are, in alphabetical order:

Top

CAT THE DJ by CATSBY STUDIO

Dust by I-eye studio

Extreme Football by 9M Interactive

Great Sword by olivecrow

QV by izzle

Sand Shark: The Boy and The Sea by GABANGMAN STUDIO

Sword Master Story by CodeCAT

Congratulations to all the winners! And thanks to everyone who entered.



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The Indie Game Festival announces its nine winners

The talent of independent and small game developers shines this year at Google Play’s Indie Games Festival,a celebration of the creativity of game developers. We received hundreds of submissions for the three competitions in Europe, Japan and South Korea. This year’s winning games have something for everyone, from a food-themed puzzle game with cats to a Mars Survival Project. Join us in congratulating the developers and trying out their games!

Europe

Indie Games Festival winners - Europe

Cookies Must Die by Rebel Twins, Poland: This husband and wife duo knocked it out of the park with this fun, frenzied and humorous game. It has lovely animations and engaging mechanics that will entertain whether you want to play for five minutes or five hours. 

inbento by Afterburn, Poland: Eating lunch at the office inspired the concept for this family-friendly game, which is available in 17 languages. Preparing a bento lunch is serious business, and these adorable cats are here to teach you the ropes with charming yet challenging puzzles. 

The White Door by Rusty Lake, Netherlands: The latest game from this two-man team is inspired by a real-life story. They impressed the jury with this  unique comic strip point-and-click adventure, set in the world of the phenomenal Cube Escape and Rusty Lake series.

Japan

Indie Games Festival winners - Japan

GIGAFALL by Shiki Game Studio: Great game for lovers of b-bit graphics and retro style where you can control the satellite lasers that orbit the Earth and destroy meteorites,

METBOY!  by REBUILD GAMES: This action game has a retro style with a catchy soundtrack for those who miss old game consoles.

Wasurenaide, otona ni natte mo by GAGEX Co.,Ltd: This cinematic adventure game in Minecraft style follows a boy who is looking for his father.

Korea

Indie Games Festival winners - Korea

Heroes Restaurant by Team Tapas: If you ever dreamed of running a restaurant and fighting with a big squid at the same time, then this game is  for you. It’s an interesting mix of catchy RPG mechanics and anime style art.

Magic Survival by LEME: A casual game where you can survive by defeating spirits in a 21st century magical civilization.

Project Mars by Moontm: An unusual game for those who aspire to colonize Mars, become a part of the space expedition and help to make the red planet a place where people can live. 

Check out the remaining Top 10 for Europe, Japan and South Korea. Winning developers receive prize packages designed to help them grow their business on Android and Google Play. Prizes include promotions on the Google Play Store, consultations with members of the Google Play team, Google hardware, and extra promotion campaigns.

Google Play Pass: new apps, games, plans and availability

Google Play Pass helps you connect with awesome digital content—it’s your pass to hundreds of apps and games without ads and in-app purchases. Today we’re sharing new updates that make it a little easier to get started.

Always something new to discover

Over the past few months, we’ve added over 150 new titles—from racing games to drawing apps—to the Play Pass catalog, and are continuing to add new content every month. Subscribers can now enjoy classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, stress-relievers like Golf Peaks, and an extensive roster of award-winning Indies like Teslagrad, Forgotton Anne, and Sally’s Law–all included with your subscription and without ads or in-app purchases. 

We’ve also added titles from Sesame Workshop, Learny Land, and many others to our selection of kid-friendly apps and games. Just head over to “Apps and games for kids” and look for the “Teacher approved” badge.

A series of new titles will premiere on Play Pass this year when they launch. You can get started with the newly-released The Almost Gone from Playdigious, and look out for exciting content like The Gardens Between and Kingdom Rush, and brand new releases like Bright Paw from Rogue and Line Weight from The Label coming later this year.

An all-new yearly subscription

In addition to our monthly pricing, we’re offering a new subscription option for Play Pass, available at $29.99 per year in the U.S., coming this week. For those already subscribed, upgrading is easy—just open the Play Store app, go to the Play Pass tab, and scroll down to find “Upgrade to a yearly subscription.”

Now available in new markets

Play Pass, including these new content additions and the yearly subscription, is coming to Android devices in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom this week.

As always, you can start your one-month trial by simply opening the Play Store app, tapping the menu at the top left, and looking for “Play Pass.” You can learn more here, and stay tuned for details on additional international availability.

New features to acquire and retain subscribers

Posted by Angela Ying, Product Manager, Google Play

Subscription continues to be one of the fastest growing business models for apps in Google Play. As your subscription business evolves and becomes more sophisticated, our platform continues to evolve to better support your needs. Today we’re excited to tell you more about the new subscription capabilities we announced at the Android 11 Beta Launch, including promotional codes to help you access new subscribers, new opportunities to remind users of your value and win back churned users. Many of these capabilities are built on top of the Play Billing Library version 3.

In addition to the new capabilities, we are also making improvements to our existing platform. Over the past few years, we have launched many features, such as account hold, restore, and pause, which have been highly effective in reducing your voluntary and involuntary churn. We want to ensure that everyone can take advantage of them, which is why we are planning on changing the default settings for these features from optional to either mandatory or on by default starting on November 1, 2020. Additional details on these features and implementation requirements can be found at the end of this post.

Here’s everything that is changing about the subscriptions platform:

Subscriptions platform

More targeted promotions

Promotions and deals are an important way to grow your business to acquire new customers. That’s why over the last year, we have invested in new promotional code capabilities for subscriptions that you can use to send promotions to a more targeted set of users.

Last year at I/O 2019, we launched subscription one-time promotion codes, unique alphanumeric codes that can be distributed to individual users for redemption. Now, we have launched a new frictionless redemption flow which allows users to easily redeem the code, purchase the subscription, and install the app in the Play store in a few simple steps. This greatly simplifies the user experience by reducing the friction users go through to use your code. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library 2.0 or higher.

example mobile displays
In addition to one-time codes, we are excited to officially announce the launch of custom codes (also known as vanity codes), which can be redeemed by multiple users and can be used for marketing campaigns to drive acquisitions. For example, you can post custom codes in advertisements or in social promotions to creatively engage with potential new users. Users can redeem a custom code in your app by entering it in their payment methods when purchasing a subscription.

Remind users of the value of your subscription

Retaining your subscribers is crucial for the long-term health of your subscriptions business. The reason why users stay subscribed is because they perceive ongoing value from your subscription service. To help you communicate this value, we recently launched a module that will remind users of the benefits gained from a subscription when they go to cancel. To take advantage of this module, add a short list of up to 4 subscriber benefits in the Google Play Console.

Win back churned subscribers

If users do churn from their subscription, we want to make it easy for them to restart it whenever they want. To help you do this, we have launched the ability for users to resubscribe to recently expired subscriptions directly from the Google Play subscriptions center. You can enable your SKUs for resubscribe in the Google Play Console. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library version 2 or higher.

Price decreases without opt-ins

Finally, we’ve heard your feedback that requiring users to opt in to subscription price decreases was too restrictive. We are happy to announce that subscription price decreases will no longer require users to take action to opt in to keep their subscription. Users will be notified of an upcoming price decrease and be able to see the upcoming change in the Google Play subscriptions center.

Updated platform retention settings

Over the past few years, our platform has made strides in helping you keep your subscribers, through features aimed at decreasing both voluntary churn and involuntary churn (churn due to payment failure). For example, account hold has helped developers achieve 8% lower involuntary churn and 35% higher payment decline recovery rate compared to developers without account hold. Although these features are effective, retention may not be something that you are thinking about when starting out for the first time.

That’s why we are announcing updated defaults for several subscriptions features that have been up until now optional, which will take effect on November 1, 2020.

  • Account hold and restore will both be mandatory for all developers.
    • Account hold is a state the user enters after a renewal fails due to a payment issue. During account hold, the user loses access to the subscription while Google notifies the user and retries the payment method. Learn how to integrate account hold
    • Restore enables users to resume auto-renewals after they have cancelled the subscription but before the subscription expires. Learn how to integrate restore
  • Pause and resubscribe will be turned on by default for all developers with subscriptions enabled. You can opt-out of either feature in Google Play Console at any time, in case you are unable to implement the changes by November.
    • Pause enables users to pause their subscription for up to 3 months. At the end of the pause period, the subscription will auto-resume. Pause requires Account Hold to be enabled. You can disable the feature by selecting “Disabled” next to Pause in the subscription settings of the Play console. Learn how to integrate pause
    • Resubscribe enables users to resubscribe to a churned subscription within 12 months of subscription expiry. This feature is only available to apps that support Billing Library versions 2.0 and above. You can disable the feature by changing the setting to “Disabled” for each subscription product in the Play console. Learn how to integrate resubscribe

You may have to make modifications to your app or your server to handle these new features. Specifically, your app should:

  • Recognize when a user loses access to the subscription and when the user regains it later
    • If your app relies on the Billing Library and not the Google Play Developer API Purchases.subscriptions to maintain the latest state of your subscriber, then your app should automatically be able to handle this.
    • However, if you rely on the Google Play Developer API, which is common for developers whose subscription is accessible across multiple platforms such as web, it is important that you always have the latest status of the subscriber in your server.
    • To ensure you always have the latest subscriber status, we strongly recommend implementing Real-Time Developer Notifications. Learn more.
  • Gracefully handle out of app purchases (Billing Library 2.0+ only)
    • When a user opens the app after resubscribing, make sure you acknowledge the purchase and show an in-app message recognizing the new purchase. Check out our best practices for handling out of app purchases.

Although not every feature will require you to make engineering changes, we highly recommend that you test each feature before November 1. To make the transition easier, Google has enabled Account Hold, Pause, Restore, and Resubscribe for all license test accounts. Learn more about testing for subscriptions.





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New features to acquire and retain subscribers

Posted by Angela Ying, Product Manager, Google Play

Subscription continues to be one of the fastest growing business models for apps in Google Play. As your subscription business evolves and becomes more sophisticated, our platform continues to evolve to better support your needs. Today we’re excited to tell you more about the new subscription capabilities we announced at the Android 11 Beta Launch, including promotional codes to help you access new subscribers, new opportunities to remind users of your value and win back churned users. Many of these capabilities are built on top of the Play Billing Library version 3.

In addition to the new capabilities, we are also making improvements to our existing platform. Over the past few years, we have launched many features, such as account hold, restore, and pause, which have been highly effective in reducing your voluntary and involuntary churn. We want to ensure that everyone can take advantage of them, which is why we are planning on changing the default settings for these features from optional to either mandatory or on by default starting on November 1, 2020. Additional details on these features and implementation requirements can be found at the end of this post.

Here’s everything that is changing about the subscriptions platform:

Subscriptions platform

More targeted promotions

Promotions and deals are an important way to grow your business to acquire new customers. That’s why over the last year, we have invested in new promotional code capabilities for subscriptions that you can use to send promotions to a more targeted set of users.

Last year at I/O 2019, we launched subscription one-time promotion codes, unique alphanumeric codes that can be distributed to individual users for redemption. Now, we have launched a new frictionless redemption flow which allows users to easily redeem the code, purchase the subscription, and install the app in the Play store in a few simple steps. This greatly simplifies the user experience by reducing the friction users go through to use your code. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library 2.0 or higher.

example mobile displays
In addition to one-time codes, we are excited to officially announce the launch of custom codes (also known as vanity codes), which can be redeemed by multiple users and can be used for marketing campaigns to drive acquisitions. For example, you can post custom codes in advertisements or in social promotions to creatively engage with potential new users. Users can redeem a custom code in your app by entering it in their payment methods when purchasing a subscription.

Remind users of the value of your subscription

Retaining your subscribers is crucial for the long-term health of your subscriptions business. The reason why users stay subscribed is because they perceive ongoing value from your subscription service. To help you communicate this value, we recently launched a module that will remind users of the benefits gained from a subscription when they go to cancel. To take advantage of this module, add a short list of up to 4 subscriber benefits in the Google Play Console.

Win back churned subscribers

If users do churn from their subscription, we want to make it easy for them to restart it whenever they want. To help you do this, we have launched the ability for users to resubscribe to recently expired subscriptions directly from the Google Play subscriptions center. You can enable your SKUs for resubscribe in the Google Play Console. Since this subscription is started outside of your app, it is only available to developers who are using Billing Library version 2 or higher.

Price decreases without opt-ins

Finally, we’ve heard your feedback that requiring users to opt in to subscription price decreases was too restrictive. We are happy to announce that subscription price decreases will no longer require users to take action to opt in to keep their subscription. Users will be notified of an upcoming price decrease and be able to see the upcoming change in the Google Play subscriptions center.

Updated platform retention settings

Over the past few years, our platform has made strides in helping you keep your subscribers, through features aimed at decreasing both voluntary churn and involuntary churn (churn due to payment failure). For example, account hold has helped developers achieve 8% lower involuntary churn and 35% higher payment decline recovery rate compared to developers without account hold. Although these features are effective, retention may not be something that you are thinking about when starting out for the first time.

That’s why we are announcing updated defaults for several subscriptions features that have been up until now optional, which will take effect on November 1, 2020.

  • Account hold and restore will both be mandatory for all developers.
    • Account hold is a state the user enters after a renewal fails due to a payment issue. During account hold, the user loses access to the subscription while Google notifies the user and retries the payment method. Learn how to integrate account hold
    • Restore enables users to resume auto-renewals after they have cancelled the subscription but before the subscription expires. Learn how to integrate restore
  • Pause and resubscribe will be turned on by default for all developers with subscriptions enabled. You can opt-out of either feature in Google Play Console at any time, in case you are unable to implement the changes by November.
    • Pause enables users to pause their subscription for up to 3 months. At the end of the pause period, the subscription will auto-resume. Pause requires Account Hold to be enabled. You can disable the feature by selecting “Disabled” next to Pause in the subscription settings of the Play console. Learn how to integrate pause
    • Resubscribe enables users to resubscribe to a churned subscription within 12 months of subscription expiry. This feature is only available to apps that support Billing Library versions 2.0 and above. You can disable the feature by changing the setting to “Disabled” for each subscription product in the Play console. Learn how to integrate resubscribe

You may have to make modifications to your app or your server to handle these new features. Specifically, your app should:

  • Recognize when a user loses access to the subscription and when the user regains it later
    • If your app relies on the Billing Library and not the Google Play Developer API Purchases.subscriptions to maintain the latest state of your subscriber, then your app should automatically be able to handle this.
    • However, if you rely on the Google Play Developer API, which is common for developers whose subscription is accessible across multiple platforms such as web, it is important that you always have the latest status of the subscriber in your server.
    • To ensure you always have the latest subscriber status, we strongly recommend implementing Real-Time Developer Notifications. Learn more.
  • Gracefully handle out of app purchases (Billing Library 2.0+ only)
    • When a user opens the app after resubscribing, make sure you acknowledge the purchase and show an in-app message recognizing the new purchase. Check out our best practices for handling out of app purchases.

Although not every feature will require you to make engineering changes, we highly recommend that you test each feature before November 1. To make the transition easier, Google has enabled Account Hold, Pause, Restore, and Resubscribe for all license test accounts. Learn more about testing for subscriptions.





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Meet Google Play Billing Library Version 3

Posted by Steve Hartford, Product Manager, Google Play

Google Play is committed to a healthy ecosystem, where developers succeed by creating high-quality apps that users love. Many developers realize that success using Google Play’s one-time purchase and subscription services. Over the last decade, we’ve improved the purchase experience for Android users with features like paying via carrier billing (with over 180 supported carriers today), and tools to budget expenses and easily manage subscriptions.

We’re furthering these efforts with the launch of Billing Library version 3. Now available, this newest version includes new ways users can pay, subscription promotion capabilities, purchase attribution for games, and improvements to purchase reliability and security. Starting August 2, 2021, all new apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer. By November 1, 2021, all updates to existing apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer.

Paying with Cash

We continuously work to ensure users worldwide can pay for your one-time purchases and subscriptions in a way that’s comfortable and convenient.

Cash remains the most widely used payment method globally with 2.7 trillion transactions across all goods and services in 2018 (Source: Euromonitor). Last year we previewed a new payment method in which the transaction is completed off-device, such as paying with cash at a local convenience store. According to World Bank, two billion people worldwide do not have access to a bank account, so these pending transactions can help unlock new buyers, especially in emerging markets where cash is a popular form of payment.

Today we’re announcing users can easily pay for one-time purchases with cash in Indonesia and Malaysia at over 50,000 locations, including at leading retailers such as 7-Eleven and Alfamart. Pending transactions will be available soon for all developers.

Cash Purchases using Billing Library 3

Cash Purchases using Billing Library 3

More places for users to discover and purchase

Billing Library version 3 unlocks the ability for users to discover and purchase items outside of your app, such as across the Play store. One example is the new frictionless subscription promo code redemption experience. Now when you offer promo codes for subscription free trials, users can easily redeem them in the Play store - even if your app isn’t installed yet. It’s a simple redeem, subscribe and install experience that reduces the effort required for users to get going.

Purchase Attribution

Many games and apps need to ensure in-app purchases are attributed to a specific in-game character, avatar, or profile. Billing Library now allows you to specify this information when launching the purchase flow. After the purchase completes, you can retrieve the information and correctly attribute the purchase. This removes the need to build a custom solution using the deprecated AIDL developer payload.

Billing Library Version Requirements

Just like Play’s TargetSDK requirements, it’s important that all users are able to benefit from any security, performance, and user experience improvements in new versions of Billing Library. At Google I/O in 2019, we released Billing Library version 2 and announced changes including a two-year support window for each major release.

This means starting August 2, 2021, all new apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer. By November 1, 2021, all updates to existing apps must use Billing Library version 3 or newer.

After these dates, you won’t be able to publish apps that use older AIDL, Billing Library version 1 or Billing Library version 2 integrations. Apps already in the Play Store can continue to be downloaded and will process in-app purchases. Any subsequent app upgrades, however, will require Billing Library version 3 or newer.

Billing Library version support

Billing Library version support

Availability

Billing Library version 3 is available today for all game and app developers in Java and Kotlin flavors. For game developers using Unity, we also launched a Billing Library 3-based Unity IAP plugin. This plugin allows Unity developers to meet the Billing Library version requirements and access all Play billing features.

Please upgrade any billing-related SDKs and libraries to versions supporting Billing Library version 3. Reach out to the SDK or library owner if one is not available. We’re working with top providers on their Billing Library version 3 compatibility.

Next Steps

While we recommend upgrading annually, we will be supporting each major release for two years. We recommend developers use Billing Library version 3 today for all new apps, and migrate existing billing integrations as soon as feasible - well ahead of the 2021 deadlines.

For developers who haven’t moved to Billing Library, we realize the transition from AIDL can be non-trivial for existing apps, and we want to help make the move as smooth as possible. We’ve created a migration guide for apps currently using AIDL, and there’s also a video walkthrough.

We’ve also updated our documentation - including guides for purchase attribution, using promo codes, and fighting abuse. Please let us know about any implementation issues - here’s how to contact us.

For details on all the Play Commerce platform improvements, watch our “What’s New” video session.

We’re looking forward to working with you to deliver great purchase experiences in your apps and games.

What’s new in Android gaming

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Head of Product Management, Games on Android & Google Play



Android logo in gaming background within a mobile phone.

In March of this year, at the Google for Games Developer Summit, we shared several new tools and services Google has been working on to help game developers. They make it easier to see how your Android games are performing, expand your reach to more devices and new audiences, and support your go-to-market with Google Play. From the level of interest shown by game developers and the great feedback provided in our developer previews, we’re excited to share the progress we’ve made on these tools, and more.

Discover more about these updates below, and in addition to these, we’ll be back August 17-21, 2020 with even more information during a full week dedicated to Android gaming products, as part of #11WeeksOfAndroid.



Android tools for mobile game development

To support you in building a great Android game, we’re working on tools that help improve productivity and overall game performance. Learn about new updates you can start using today.
  • ADB Incremental in Android 11 addresses the slow install speeds you may face when installing very large APKs (2GB+) with ADB (Android Debug Bridge) during game development. Accelerate APK installs up to 10x when using an Android 11 device with this new update to ADB. Download as a part of the Android 11 Developer Preview SDK.
  • Apply for access to our continued developer previews, including the Android Game Development Extension for cross-platform developers targeting Android with their C++ game engine and the Android GPU Inspector, a profiling tool that helps you look into the GPU of Android devices and optimize the graphical performance of games. Download the Android Studio Profilers, with updates including an expanded set of profilers and standalone profilers, available in the Android Studio 4.1 preview.




Reach more devices & users

To provide greater insights into your game’s performance and help scale your games to reach a growing player-base across the Android ecosystem, we’ve seen growing success with the adoption of Play’s dynamic delivery of game assets as well as our Integrity Protection Suite. Read on for additional launches and updates.

  • Android Performance Tuner now in general availability: Deliver better experiences to more users. Measure your frame rate performance and graphical fidelity, and optimize between them to achieve stable frame rates at scale across the whole Android device ecosystem. Learn how to integrate the Unity plug-in or do a custom integration.
  • We’ve made updates to the Android Game SDK, now available on Jetpack, making it easier to integrate. As part of our ongoing efforts to support developers building Android games on any game engine, check out the new Google Play Plugins for Unity workflow improvement, and enhancements to Unreal Engine, including built-in support for Android App Bundles, Play Asset Delivery, Android Frame Pacing, and Play Billing Library.




Reach more devices and win go-to-market

We’ve completely redesigned the Google Play Console making it easier for you to improve your app’s quality, engage your audience, earn revenue, and more. We’re also continuing to improve the Google Play Store and other services allowing you to better market your game to expanded audiences.

  • Console 2020: The Google Play Console has been redesigned with a clearer, smarter, and more helpful developer experience. This includes an overhauled pre-launch workflow and the release of auto install for pre-registration campaigns to help you maximize early installs. Join the beta and share feedback.
  • Instant play games: Introducing a new way to reach 100s of millions of new gamers by publishing an 'Instant play' game in the Play Games app. Submit your game to be eligible for featuring.
  • Google Play Game Services - Friends: We’ve built a new friends system to help players easily find and play with friends across Android games. Bootstrap your in-game friend networks and have your game surfaced in new clusters in the Play Games app. Apply now for the preview.

We hope you start using some of these new tools and features, and continue to share your feedback with our development teams. You can learn about all of the offerings we have to help game developers at d.android.com/games.





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Introducing the new Google Play Console beta

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play Console

Over the years, we’ve seen our community grow to well over a million developers, from one-person shops to companies with hundreds of Google Play Console users. As you’ve grown, Play Console has grown with you. But as we added new features to keep up with your changing needs, Play Console became increasingly busy and a little difficult to navigate. So we’ve redesigned it from the ground up to ensure it continues to help you grow your business on Google Play for years to come.

Today, you can try out the new Google Play Console by joining the beta. Visit Play Console at its new home: play.google.com/console

We’ve designed the new Play Console to be more helpful. Now you can:

  • More easily find, discover, and understand important features
  • Get new guidance on policy changes, release status, advice, and user feedback
  • Better understand performance insights with new acquisition reports
  • Inspect each of your app bundles and understand how Google Play optimizes artifacts for your users
  • Safely enable everyone on your team to use our features with new user management options.

On behalf of the whole team at Google Play, I’m excited to share the beta with you and to get your feedback. Many thanks to the hundreds of developers who have already provided feedback — your input helps us improve Play Console for the entire developer community.

Clearer and easier to use

The new Google Play Console is built on Google Material, the UI design system for all Google-branded products. This brings a number of advantages as explained by the project’s lead designer, Jesse Orme:

This design system is easier to read and scan, using typography and space to delineate sections and enable clear information hierarchy. A consistent and considered set of styles and components ensure that features are as easy and intuitive to use as possible, even if you’re new to them."

The new Play Console is also responsive, so you can use it across your devices, at home, at work, or when you’re on the move. The responsive design also supports right-to-left languages including Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew. The team is putting the finishing touches on our mobile layouts now, so these features will roll out to the beta in the coming weeks.

New navigation

Because many Play Console users can be domain specialists like Growth Managers or QAs, we’ve designed the new navigation to reflect how you work, making it easier to find all the tools for your job.

The navigation groups related features based on what you want to achieve. For instance, all of your acquisition setup, reporting, and optimization tools are now collected in a single “Grow” section. We’re also adding a search feature to the beta soon, so you can jump to specific features or pages more quickly.

Google Play Console navigation

The new navigation organizes features based on your goals

Similarly, we’ve made the distinction between your production track and your internal, closed, and open testing tracks much clearer. This reflects best practices and will make it easier for your team to understand the status of app’s tracks at a glance so you can release with confidence.

Clearer overviews

The new releases overview gives you a snapshot of all your tracks, so now you can see information about your internal, closed, and open testing tracks, as well as your production track. Quickly see how many users are testing your app or the latest countries you’ve rolled out to.

Releases overview on Play Console

The new Releases overview lets you see information about all your tracks at a glance

Easier publishing

We've renamed Timed Publishing to Managed Publishing. Use it to see a summary of your changes that are in review and control when to publish on Google Play. Managed Publishing also helps you understand all the changes that have been submitted across your releases, store listings, and more. For those of you with larger teams, you can now review and coordinate all your changes in one place so everything is published at the same time.

Managed Publishing on Google Play Console

Submit your updates for review and launch them when you’re ready with Managed Publishing

The Artifact library has evolved into the new App Bundle Explorer, which you can find in the “Release” section. You can inspect the app bundles you’ve uploaded to Play and understand how Google Play processes them to generate optimized serving artifacts. Download everything Play generates, including APKs for pre-installing on devices and standalone APKs, access an install link for historical versions for testing purposes, and see detailed dynamic delivery information.

And when you’re launching a new app, check out our new guided setup to help you get to production with confidence.

Set up your app on Google Play Console

Guided setup includes best practices to help you get to production with confidence

More ways to get the answers you need, fast

Important information is now even easier to find, with more ways to get the answers you need, right when you need them.

Clearer policy and compliance information

The new Policy status and App content sections make it easier for you to provide information Google Play needs to confirm that your apps are compliant with our policies, and to quickly see if there’s an issue that needs addressing. We know this can be a source of worry, so we designed these new sections to help guide you through the process, and they will continue to grow over time.

App content section on Google Play Console

The App content section makes it easier to provide the information Google Play needs to confirm that your apps comply with our policies

Inbox

Rolling out soon, the new Play Console Inbox collects everything we think you’ll need to know about your apps and games. Never miss an important message, update, recommendation, or milestone.

new Google Play Console Inbox

Find important messages about your apps and games in the new Play Console Inbox

Easier education

Many of you told us that you don’t feel like you’re using the full capabilities of Google Play Console because you’re not sure what features are available or how best to use them. To help, key features now include educational pages to help your teams understand their value and how to add them to your workflows. These also serve as a hub for related information, like our comprehensive documentation on the Help Center, Play Academy courses, developer case studies, and more.

Play Console Statistics educational pages

Educational pages help you understand key features and and how to add them to your workflows

These pages can be accessed without a Play Console account so you can easily share them.

Visit the new educational pages at play.google.com/console/about

Understanding your performance

Many of you told us that you value Google Play Console’s acquisition reports because they help you understand the impact of your store listing optimization and marketing investment. But you also told us that the current report made it challenging to see how your performance was trending over time, and you wanted to analyze performance across multiple dimensions together, such as country and acquisition source.

The new acquisition reports focus on trend analysis, understanding relationships between metrics, and now support expanded dimensions including language, store listing, and reacquisition.

Store listing conversion analytics on Google Play Console

New filters and dimensions let you see trends by acquisition type and region to really understand your performance

Advanced filters and dimensions let you drill down by acquisition type and region to really understand your performance. For instance, did your campaign to increase organic installs in France pay off? Now you can find out.

Rolling out soon, deeply integrated benchmarks — including over 100 app and game categories, plus countries and regions — can help you identify areas for growth and where you’re leading the market.

Better, safer team management

Another area we’ve enhanced is team-member management. The new Google Play Console includes features, insights, and data to help every member of your team, from your engineers, PMs, and QAs to your marketing managers and executives. We know that granting broad access to everyone in your organization could be a challenge, with permissions that were sometimes hard to understand, and a UI that made managing large numbers of team members difficult.

We’ve updated the new team-member management area with better, more granular controls. Written in collaboration with developers, new permission names and descriptions are clearer, so you can understand what you are — and aren’t — allowing people to do. There’s clearer differentiation between global and app-level permissions, and we’ve added full user search and bulk-edit capabilities to make managing your teams easier.

Users and Permissions on Google Play Console

Safely grant your team members access to Play Console’s features with granular permission controls

We want as many people as possible to benefit from Play Console’s tools, and these changes should help you grant access with confidence.

Try the new Play Console beta today

The features above are just the beginning — every page on Google Play Console has been enhanced. Features like Pre-launch reports, Android vitals, Statistics, and Play Game Services have all been made more usable and helpful.

Visit play.google.com/console to check out the beta today. Once you do, please share your thoughts using this feedback form or in Play Console using the button on the top right. Your feedback is crucial to helping our teams build better products for you.

Thank you for being a part of our community, and we hope you enjoy the new Play Console!

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Introducing Google Play Asset Delivery

Posted by Dan Galpin, Developer Advocate

Two years ago, we introduced the Android App Bundle, a new publishing format that allows Google Play to help optimize your app delivery. The app bundle is now Play’s recommended publishing format; with almost 50% of all top apps & games already using it.

It replaces the traditional monolithic APK at publishing time, allowing you to package all of your languages, screen densities and device architectures into a single artifact. The bundle itself can't be installed; Play takes care of generating APKs optimized for each requesting device from the single bundle that you publish.

Dynamic Delivery with App Bundle Produces Optimized APKs

Dynamic Delivery with App Bundle Produces Optimized APKs

Apps have seen great success with app bundles, but games often have different delivery challenges.

Today, large Android games rely on APK Expansion Files and custom Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver content. APK Expansion Files, also known as OBBs, support large resources but require you to maintain an additional publishing artifact, which causes many developer issues. Using CDNs for resource delivery often results in a suboptimal user-experience; users install and open the game just to face a long progress bar as they wait for additional resources to be downloaded. Users may also have to wait for updated resources, rather than having them delivered as part of the game auto-update. Finally, CDNs usually aren’t free, so this way of delivering game assets also involves extra cost that needs to be accounted for.

To handle the unique needs of games, Play is introducing Play Asset Delivery, giving you dynamic delivery of the right game assets to the right devices at the right time at no additional cost. To achieve this, we extended the Android App Bundle publishing format by adding asset packs.

The contents of an Android App Bundle with one base module, two dynamic feature modules, and two asset packs.

The contents of an Android App Bundle with one base module, two dynamic feature modules, and two asset packs.

Asset packs contain non-code game content such as textures, materials, and sounds. They are served from Google Play with large size limits that are ideal for games, and you can customize how and when each asset pack is downloaded onto a device.

Keeping assets up-to-date

Play Asset Delivery (PAD) lets you rely on Google Play to take care of updating your assets, just like it does with your game binary. When your app auto updates, the entire game gets updated, including all assets. When your users open the game, they will already have the freshest binary and assets, and they won’t need to wait for resources to get updated. Play also takes care of delta patching for you, minimizing the download size and the update time.

To handle cases when the user opens the game before it has had a chance to update, you can trigger updates within the context of your game with our In-App Updates API.

Play Asset Delivery engine support

  • Version 4.25 of Unreal engine supports building App Bundles with asset packs instead of APK expansion files and includes a plugin that provides function calls for managing downloads and requesting information from Play Asset Delivery.
  • We have built a Unity plugin that takes care of packaging your Unity Asset Bundles into asset packs and lets you build an Android App Bundle that includes them. The plugin is now available in our Package Registry and is compatible with Unity 2017.4 and higher.
  • For other engines, that Android Gradle plugin 4.0 release lets you combine your asset packs and your binary into an App Bundle. Just update your gradle plugin version and configure the delivery mode in the build.gradle file for each individual asset pack.

Customizing when asset packs are installed

You can customize when asset packs are installed according to three delivery modes: install-time, fast-follow, and on-demand.

  • install-time asset packs allow you to deliver up to 1GB of game assets as part of the initial game installation. To your app, this works like a large APK, with no need for expansion files or special API calls. Just package your assets in asset packs and publish to Play.
  • fast-follow asset packs are automatically downloaded as soon as the app is installed, allowing the user to start playing while important assets are still downloading. The app doesn't have to be opened for the download to start.
  • on-demand asset packs are downloaded upon request by the app.

Both on-demand and fast-follow assets are delivered as raw files and placed in your game’s internal storage. You can track download progress with the PAD API and access the assets directly using file system calls.

Extending Android App Bundle for Games

When using Play Asset Delivery, you get to take advantage of the App Bundle format, which allows Play to optimize the binary for the device, making it easier to support both 64-bit and 32-bit devices and different CPU architectures such as ARM and X86. We also want to help you serve the optimal set of assets to each device, and the first step in this direction is texture compression format targeting.

In an upcoming release of Play Asset Delivery, you'll be able to package textures in multiple texture compression formats, relying on Play to serve optimal assets per device model. This means you won't need to compromise by using suboptimal texture compression formats, and your users will always get the best assets suitable for their device without wasting network bandwidth or having suboptimal loading performance.

Better retention with an improved install experience

image of car racing from Asphalt 8 game by Gameloft

Asphalt 8 by Gameloft

Gameloft integrated Play Asset delivery into Asphalt 8, Asphalt Xtreme, and Minion Rush. Asphalt Xtreme was easy to switch from using APK expansion files to using PAD with install-time delivery. Asphalt 8 and Minion Rush both originally used a custom CDN, which Gameloft replaced with PAD. They were able to leverage fast-follow and on-demand delivery by replacing their custom CDN calls with calls to the PAD API. They saw the expected reduction in CDN costs, but with fast-follow delivery, they have also seen a significant increase in the number of users who completed the secondary download to start playing the game. This resulted in better user retention, with 10% more new players compared to their previous CDN asset delivery system. With the promising early results and seamless implementation process, Gameloft plans to use PAD in more of their upcoming releases. Read more about their experience.

Improved user experience with cost savings

Puzzle Kids - Animals Shapes and Jigsaw Puzzles game

Puzzle Kids - Animals Shapes and Jigsaw Puzzles by RV AppStudios

US-based developer RV AppStudios has over 200 million downloads to date across their portfolio of casual games, educational kids apps, and utility apps. Their Puzzle Kids app delivers over 23 MB of assets as players progress through the levels. When they switched from a third-party CDN to using Play Asset Delivery’s on-demand mode, they saw a 4.7% increase in 15-day retention and 21% reduction in crashes & ANRs. Overall, these changes helped improve the user experience by offering more stable, transparent, and secure downloads, while also saving costs for RV AppStudios. Read more about their experience.

Play Asset Delivery is available now

We're committed to helping you serve your entire game through Play with customized dynamic delivery. Play Asset Delivery, with the new app bundle format for games, along with its three delivery modes and updates + patching are all generally available. You can find documentation at d.android.com that will walk you through the integration process depending on the game engine you use.

YouTube Music is Making it Simple to Transfer Over Your Google Play Music Library

Over the past few years, we have enhanced YouTube Music to deliver a comprehensive listening experience, and have also added features to make Google Play Music users feel right at home. Starting today, we’re excited to officially begin inviting Google Play Music listeners to effortlessly transfer their music libraries, personal taste preferences and playlists to YouTube Music, their new home for music listening and discovery.
For now, users will continue to have access to both services. We want to ensure everyone has time to transfer their content and get used to YouTube Music, so we’ll provide plenty of notice ahead of users no longer having access to Google Play Music later this year.
Easy Transfer and Transition 
We know many listeners have spent a lot of time creating their perfect music and podcast libraries in Google Play Music, so we’ve made it simple to move both to their new homes. All Google Play Music users will soon receive an email with detailed instructions on how to begin transferring your full Google Play Music history and content, as well as podcasts, to their new homes.
Music fans will be able to start the transfer process of their music library to YouTube Music by following these simple steps:

  • Download the YouTube Music app (iOS/Android). 
  • Click on the transfer button in YouTube Music, and your uploads, purchases, added songs and albums, personal and subscribed playlists, likes and dislikes, curated stations and personal taste preferences will move right over. 
  • Your updated recommendations will appear immediately on the YouTube Music home screen, and we’ll notify you via email and notifications when your music library transfer is complete and your music is in the “Library” tab. 

You can also check out the video with transfer details HERE.

And if you’re a podcast listener, you can visit this web page and transfer your subscriptions and episode progress to Google Podcasts with a single click. Google Podcasts is our dedicated podcast player available for free on Android and iOS, and accessible from Google Assistant, Google Search, Google Home and more.
We’re looking forward to Google Play Music users transferring their libraries, so they can begin listening and exploring on YouTube Music and Google Podcasts.
Your New Home For Music: YouTube Music
For listeners new to YouTube Music, the streaming service is your personal guide to the world of music, simply organised in an app and web player. A bit more on what YouTube Music has to offer:

  • Catalogue: YouTube Music offers over 50 million official tracks, albums and high quality audio, as well as deep cuts, B-sides, live performances, and remixes you can’t find anywhere else. 
  • Listen everywhere: Explore YouTube Music’s audio-first music app, desktop and smart speaker experience. 
  • Recommendations: Discover new music through YouTube Music’s home screen recommendations and personalised mixes - My Mix, Discovery Mix, and New Release Mix - based on taste, location, time of day and Play Music preferences after transferring. 
  • Official Playlists: Listen to thousands of official playlists from both YouTube Music and Google Play Music. 

We’ve listened to Google Play Music user feedback and recently introduced additional new features to YouTube Music for fans to enjoy. Some of the YouTube Music features we’re most excited to share include the following (with more updates on the way!):

  • Playlist Creation: We’ve increased playlist length from 1,000 to 5,000 songs to make room for even more of your favourite songs. 
  • Uploads: You can listen to your uploaded and purchased music from Google Play Music after your transfer, or add up to 100,000 personal tracks to your library in YouTube Music (an increase of more than 50,000 compared to Google Play Music). 
  • Offline listening: Paying members can download any song, playlist, music video or let smart downloads (Android only for now) do it for you so you always have something to listen to, even when you don’t have service. 
  • Lyrics: Lyrics offer highly visible access to follow along to tracks. 
  • Explore Tab: An all-new Explore tab offering one go-to place to discover new music and YouTube Music’s vast catalogue of playlists through New Releases and Moods & Genres sections. 

Pricing 
Existing pricing is the same between Google Play Music and YouTube Music. Fans can enjoy the ad-supported version of YouTube Music for free, or enjoy YouTube Music Premium, a paid membership that gives listeners background listening, downloads and an ad-free experience for $11.99 a month. Or you can try YouTube Premium to extend ad-free, background listening and offline playback across all of YouTube for $14.99.
Google Play Music Unlimited members will be automatically granted the equivalent tier of YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium based on the level of benefits with their current subscription, at the same price*.
We can’t wait for you to start exploring YouTube Music features and discovering new music favourites along the way. Have more questions or need help? Check out all of our support resources here.
*Some users may see a price difference upon transfer. Learn more here.