Articles

Keynote + Tools and best practices to improve game quality (GDC 2019)

August 24, 2019


FRANK SAVAGE: Good
morning, everyone. I’m Frank. TIAN LIM: And I’m Tian. And we lead Android
games engineering and Play product
management at Google. First, welcome to GDC. [CROWD CHEERING] [APPLAUSE] We know you have your
choice of 10:00 AM sessions. There are only about
1,000 others right now. So we appreciate you
being here with us today. So like many of
you, we have spent our careers and
most of our lives playing and building games. Pop quiz– does
anyone here remember “Strike Commander” or
“Wing Commander 3” or “Wing Commander,” in general? OK. A few. That was Frank. FRANK SAVAGE: Yeah, that’s– thank you. [APPLAUSE] TIAN LIM: To show you
just how hardcore he was, this was his license plate. You were in high school then? FRANK SAVAGE: Well,
it wasn’t high school. Unfortunately, I was
quite a bit older. But, yeah, this was in Chicago. And before I had even started
in the games business, I may have been a
little bit too large of a “Wing Commander” fan, so– TIAN LIM: No issue with that. For my part, I helped build
the Nintendo GameCube, the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 4. And to prove my
nerd cred, here’s an old picture kind of
showing my bad hair choices, late at night, as we brought up
the high-performance skidding and animation code
for the GameCube that was generally used in all
GameCube games and Wii games for quite some time. FRANK SAVAGE: I spent 17
years working on Xbox. I worked on all
three of the Xboxes. What I consider to be my
crowning achievement for that was, I was the development
manager for XNA Game Studio. So if any of you remember
XNA and the XNA framework and all that stuff that
Unity is based on today, you can blame me for that, too. I joined Google because I see
the potential here of Google’s reach, and really the
expansive capabilities that Google has that can really
take your game businesses to the next level. TIAN LIM: Now, Frank and I also
care deeply about diversity in the games business,
and we mean that in every sense of the word. We live in a world where large
story-driven, triple-A games, like “God of War,” can live side
by side with a mobile, indie, premium title, like “Florence,”
on Game-of-the-Year lists. That’s absolutely outstanding. And so we just care
a lot about fostering both ends of that
spectrum, everything from large triple-A to small
indie and all the business models in-between, from premium,
subscription, ads, and so on. FRANK SAVAGE: Your
businesses are helping to fuel
incredible growth in the global mobile games
market, which are forecasted by New Zoo to grow
yearly by double digits for the next decade. By 2021, mobile games revenue
will be 60% of the global games revenue. TIAN LIM: And we’re seeing
some really interesting trends in the industry, like the
explosion of gaming in India, which is not traditionally
a huge gaming market. And this is, in part, due
to the amazing success of “PUBG Mobile.” This game has become a
cultural phenomenon there. The Indian prime minister
has made references to it and couples have made
the news by putting out PUBG-themed engagement photos. But success is not only
for the large developers. Every year, we see
inspiring stories, like Small Giant Games who
launched “Empires and Puzzles” way back in March 2017. It became a top-grossing
title on Play last year, and they just very recently
got acquired by Zinga. It started out as
this tiny team, so huge congratulations to them. However, as people who have
been around games for quite some time, we know that Google
hasn’t quite always lived up to its potential. FRANK SAVAGE: We know we can
improve the experience for game developers, and we
want to share some of the things we’re working
on to make it better for you. You’ll hear from various Google
teams throughout this week. But for now, we’d like to
focus on Android and Play and the things that we’re doing
there to improve the ecosystem. As the engineering lead for
Android games and graphics, my team’s primary
goal is to help you reach more of the 2 billion
Android devices that are there by making it easier for
you to build for them. We hear your feedback today,
that it’s too hard, especially when building
high-fidelity games. My team’s focus
is to build tools that will help all
developers bring mobile games to the
next level, pushing the boundaries on graphics,
multiplayer experiences, and so much more. Android has traditionally been
one of the toughest platforms to develop for– as
though that’s like a badge of goodness– given the fragmentation of
the ecosystem and limited availability of game
development tools to deal with this complexity. When you think about
all of the SOC vendors that are out there and
all of the different OEMs using those SOCs, it’s
very, very difficult to know what to target to
hit the kinds of things that you’re going
to be after in terms of what your game needs to
do, in terms of performance or look and feel. At the same time, mobile games
are becoming much more complex. With more titles moving
from console and PC to mobile, as
developers, you know these games need advanced
debugging and development tools. And those are the kinds of
problems that my team is going to be focused on solving. To do so, we’re
making big investments to improve the development
experience on Android. We’re expanding our scope
and ramping up teams to unblock game developers
in problematic areas. And also working
with the platform teams to build
solutions at scale. There are a lot of
hard problems to solve. And if you’re up for a
challenge, we are hiring. TIAN LIM: Hey, you know
I used to optimize games for the GameCube, right? FRANK SAVAGE: No,
I didn’t know that. How long has it been
since you goded? TIAN LIM: Seven or
eight years, maybe. FRANK SAVAGE: Oh,
well, maybe you should keep your day job then. [LAUGHTER] You know, just saying. We’re also investing in tools
to help give you better insights into what’s going on. We know that the CPU and
GPU profiling stories on Android today are not
up to what they need to be. We need, again, better
debugging workflows, and we’re investing in
wider Vulcan availability as well, so that you can tap
the graphics potential that’s in a lot of these
mobile GPUs today. We’ve also heard from
developers that it’s hard to find information
and resources on mobile game development and distribution. So to help today, we’ve
launched a new site as a central location
to make great games and maximize your reach. Keep an eye on this, as
we’re going to continue to add new resources over time. These are just a few
places we’re working on to make things less complex for
you to build games on Android. And we look forward
to sharing more with you throughout the year. In fact, we’ll have
much more to say at Google I/O in a brand
new track dedicated entirely to games. This is the first
time ever that games have been featured
at I/O, and this speaks to the commitment
across Google, because we really want to be the
full lifecycle partner for you as you’re building these titles. If you can’t make
the event, please make sure to follow
along on the livestream. There’ll be a lot
of information. We know that
developing your game doesn’t mean the work
stops when you publish. This is where you shift
focus to improving the game’s performance in the marketplace. TIAN LIM: And that’s
where Play comes in. So over the past year, I’ve
spent a lot of time speaking with the game developer
community around the world. And a couple things really stand
out that we want to focus on. First, discovery. It’s hard. And we want to help your game
succeed on the Play Store. Everyday, more
games are appearing, but we only have the
same number of pixels. And we want to make it easier
for everyone to get discovered. Now, we know that
it’s especially hard for newer and
smaller game developers, and we want to do a lot
more to support you. So if you visit
our booth starting on Wednesday in Center Hall,
you can learn about some of the programs that
we run specifically for indies that help
amplify your great work, such as the Indie
Games Showcase. So to learn more,
please go to this site. So while we’re improving
the storefront, we continue to offer
new and effective ways to help you distribute
your games to users. Last year at GDC, we
announced the launch of pre-reg, which allows you to
start marketing and building up the pre-launch hype and demand
for your upcoming release. This is a tried and true best
practice across the games industry, and it helps build
that hype with players. You’re going to hear some big
news later today about pre-reg and some great new features. So stay tuned for our session
called “Building the Hype.” There’s a lot more that
we’re thinking about when it comes to games discovery. New games have so much
creativity and so much innovation, and then we
tell you to condense it into one icon on the
home page of the store. So we want to do more to
show the soul of your game to users, before they even click
through to the store listing page. So what you see
here on the left is one of our new
auto-playing treatments. It should be going out
into experiment this week. And in general, you
should be expecting to see more and more of
your videos and screenshots show up on the home page
over the coming quarters. On the right, you will see
our live-ops events page, and this can help drive
re-engagement and discovery for your live-ops
events and games. Major updates can
also be shown here. And so in general,
we just want to be there to help amplify those
big beats in your business. We also launched Google
Play Instant for games at GDC last year. Players can hit the “Try Now”
button on your store listing page and go straight to a
demo experience of your game within a matter of seconds
with no installation required. FRANK SAVAGE: You
know, I remember when we had to cut
discs for demos, and we’d glue them to
the fronts of magazines. Does anyone remember gluing– going to get the disc off
the front of the magazine, and then rushing
home and having fun? Does anyone miss that? [LAUGHTER] No? OK. Well, this is the best
part, is that now you can download and play
a match of something like “Garena’s Free Fire”
in about 10 seconds, which is a very, very different
world to be living in. TIAN LIM: Great
times we live in. We also enabled Instant
for premium titles, like HyperBeard’s “DR. MEEP,”
an incredibly cute take on the match-3 genre. We also want to
help you make money. We want developers to
have more options on how they monetize in general. In-app purchases, of
course, are super important. But we want to support other
methods, like subscriptions, premium games, or rewarded ads. And we’re constantly trying
out new approaches here. We see huge benefits in
helping developers diversify their revenue streams. And later today,
you’ll hear more about the success of
developers, like Playgendary and Kongregate. Stay tuned. We’re investing in
even more options, and we hope to give you even
more choice in the future. So if it isn’t
already clear, Google is super serious
about helping games throughout their lifecycle. And if you want learn more, come
to our booth in the West Hall or visit our new
Google for Games site. FRANK SAVAGE: Before
we kick off today, I wanted to share some other
events we have lined up. Join us tomorrow at 10:00
AM for the big reveal. [LAUGHTER] Yes. Then, on Wednesday
there’s a full day of sessions from Google Cloud. And finally, Wednesday
through Friday, there are over 40 Google
sessions and talks throughout the conference. Full agendas and the
livestream details can be found at g.co/gdc19. Here’s a quick
overview of today. We have four main sessions
full of updates and tips to help you succeed
on Android and Play. The first three
sessions will cover tools, monetization strategies,
and new opportunities. Then, make sure to
come back at 2:40 for a more technical
session focused on building games on Android. We appreciate everyone
being here today. Thank you for choosing Android
and Play to create and scale your games. And we look forward to
seeing what you do next. With that, we’ll hand
over to Ben Frenkel, who will share more about
distribution and discovery. Thank you all. TIAN LIM: Thank you. BEN FRENKEL: All right. Hello, everybody. I’m Ben Frenkel. I’m a product manager on Play. And today, I’m going to go
a little deeper into some of the things Tian talked
about earlier about how we’re improving
discovery on the store. And joining me later
on, in a little bit, is my esteemed
colleague Kobi Glick, who will be talking about
distribution on Play. But before I get
rolling, I wanted to kick things off with some
audience participation– get you guys energized, all right? And so just to provide
some context for this, about a month or so ago, I was
looking at the latest results of the GDC State of the
Game Industry Survey among other things that
asked this question– which discovery methods,
you, the game developer, find most effective. And the top five responses in
no particular order were word of mouth, promotion on
the digital storefront– so that would be the
Play Store, for example– social media– very popular– YouTube video–
which apparently is its own category– and
traditional press and bloggers. So take a second to let
this soak in, all right? Look at them closely. Keep them in your
mind, because they’re going to be coming
in handy in a second. So now what I want you
to do is to take a moment and guess which discovery
method most developers selected and which you
believe the fewest. So take a guess. What’s the yellow bar
and what’s the blue bar? All right. And I’ll give you a second
to think about it, all right? Which is number one? And which is the last place one? OK. All right. So survey says that– you can imagine a drum roll– the number one choice
is social media. Very exciting, I know. And last place–
last place, survey says it was promotion on
the digital storefronts. And for completeness, this is
how everything else shook out. So raise your hand
if you successfully guessed that social media
would be ranked first. Who thought social media
would be ranked first? I think there’s more of you
who really thought that. But now raise your hand
if you successfully guessed that the storefront
would be ranked last. Not that many of you, like me. I was a bit surprised, too. Now raise your hand
if you just thought this whole thing was contrived
to make the Play Store look good. [LAUGHTER] All right. So there’s at least some
cynics in the audience, and I appreciate that. So when I saw these results, I
wondered, how is this possible? With the billions of
people that are visiting the store and the fact that
all discovery roads end in one app store and the other, where
is this disconnect coming from? Do developers believe that most
users have made up their mind before they come to the store? I was wondering the same thing. Well, I did some digging. And in fact, a majority
of store sessions are discovery-focused,
with people searching for things
like free games or scrolling through
the home page. So my takeaway was
that, we, as Play, have a tremendous opportunity
to improve the effectiveness of game discovery. And here is how we think
about that opportunity. So for years, game
discovery started with the tried and
trusted game icon– lots of icons, all
of the game icons. And we know that you
put a lot of effort into carefully
crafting these things. But there are physical limits
to how much information these could possibly convey to users. The game icon is really
just a narrow, keyhole-view into the store listing. And the store listing has a lot
more information– there are videos, there are screenshots. But the store listing is
still just another slightly, less narrow keyhole-view
into the layer below the actual game. And each layer, sure, provides
more information than the last. But playing the game is
really the first time the user can tell if they
found a match for what they’re looking for. So we asked
ourselves, how can we elevate what’s inside
the game– the soul or essence of the game– to
the front line of discovery? How do we move things from this
bottom layer up to the top, further and further up? And over the last few
years, we’ve, in fact, been making progress
towards this goal– some of this Tian
covered earlier– moving content like
trailers and screenshots from the store listing
to the top layer. We recently expanded to
auto-playing elements like this, which Tian
mentioned earlier. And there’s also a
ton of activity inside of games in that bottom
layer, the stuff that’s happening inside the game–
daily events, competitions and promotions. And that’s where
live events come in and why we have the Events tab. And we believe the next step
in the store’s evolution is to bring more of the
essence or soul of the game up to that top layer. And Google Play Instant plays
an important role in this area. So this next section
is going to provide an update on how the
product has matured since we talked about it and
announced it at GDC last year. So as a quick refresher,
Google Play Instant enables users to start games
instantly with a single tap, to try the game without
installing or uninstalling, and gives you the ability to
launch games from anywhere, all over the store, and
Play’s properties beyond that. And since GDC last
year, developer adoption has been booming. Over the last six months,
we’ve seen 3x growth in instant games, and sessions
have grown even further. So we asked ourselves,
with that success, can we elevate
instant games further? What else can we do
with this format? Could we shift instant
games from being just part of the existing
discovery experience to being “the” discovery experience? Well, the Play
Games App Playlists are the first real
attempt to do this. Imagine in the future
being able to click “Play All” on the new and updated
section on the store and having an experience
like this, where you can go from demo to demo to
demo until you found something you love to play. Think about how different
that experience would be when you are looking for a game. And the Play Games
app and the store are going to continue to invest
and iterate and experiment with concepts like this. And our success
has also emboldened us to elevate instant games from
the store listing to the higher layers here on the home page,
like in this ads example, one of the new “Try Now” treatments
that we’re testing out. So expect to see more “Try
Now” buttons on the home page in the near future. And all these new
experiences were really made possible because of
the incredible support of our partners who
build instant games. So the question is, why
were they building them? What’s behind this growth? So there are three
driving forces. The first, Google Play Instant
is delivering business impact to you, the game developer. Second, we’ve made
it easier and faster for you to build instant games. And lastly, we’ve cultivated
an ecosystem of implementation and technology partners that can
help you build instant games. So diving into business
uplift, the key thing I want you to take away is
that Google Play Instant can work for any game,
any of your games. And here’s a sample of
recent successful games to help illustrate
a few key points. So number one, they’ve
all achieved improvements for the developer
in terms of number of users that install the game. That’s a big, important thing
to emphasize– from 6% to 26%. But in addition
to that, it’s also important to emphasize
that success can be found in any category of game. So whether or not you’re
building a strategy game, an arcade game,
or a casual game, you can find success. And second, irrespective of
how you monetize your game, Google Play Instant
can work for you. And that impact can be
particularly pronounced for premium games, as
this example illustrates. And lastly, you can
find success, regardless of how you have built
your instant game. So whether you prefer to use
HTML, like “Flip the Gun,” or Unity, like
“Rodeo Stampede” did, or a custom engine
or AppOnboard, you can be successful. And speaking of
developer tools, we’ve made major strides in this area. So in the lead up to GDC,
our early access partners were taking months to
build an instant game. And with our investment
in Unity and Cocos, we got it down to weeks,
then we got it down to days. But going forward, we
aspire to do two things– enable developers to
build instant games in a matter of hours, to
cut that down even more, and enable every
single one of you in the audience to
build an instant game. And for those of you
who may be skeptical, we have a video
demonstration that shows that this is possible
courtesy of AppOnboard. The demo was of their
new studio product that was announced last week
that takes a codeless approach to building instant games. And just a warning, the demo
runs at 18 times normal speed, so I will be talking quickly. All right. So you create a project. And after you’ve created
the video and audio assets, you can actually import
them into Studio, where you can drag and
drop them to build out your user experience. You can set up your transitions
and link them to gestures, like clicking and swiping. You can quickly preview
experience and iterate through that process. And as you can see in
this time lapse here, in under 10 minutes, you could
have your first iteration of an instant game. And this approach to
build instant games could unlock a whole
new range of use cases. Imagine in the future having
different instant games for every user segment,
for every content update, for every live
event or promotion. That’s the future we
are building towards. And another important signal
of Instant’s maturation is the implementation
partner ecosystem that’s growing up around the product. And they help solve critical
problems in adoption for us. And they have been critical
to our success, as a result. So to learn more about these
partners and everything else I talked about today, check
out our GDC medium post here. And come to our session
at the Google booth this Wednesday, to learn how to
build instant games with Unity. And with that, I’ll
hand things over to Kobi to talk about the power
of Play distribution. [APPLAUSE] KOBI GLICK: Thanks, Ben. Hi, everyone. Ben showed you how Play’s
content-first approach and instant games help
you with discovery. I want to tell you
about how Play helps you with distribution. I’ll cover three things. And if there’s one word
I want you to take away from this talk, it’s dynamic. I’ll talk about Android App
Bundles and Google Play Dynamic Delivery. I’ll talk about
preparing for 64-bit and how you can keep
your users on the latest version of your game. So let’s start with the bundle. We launched the Android
App Bundles at Google I/O last year, and more than 60,000
apps and games have already switched to publishing Android
App Bundles in production on Google Play. You can build them
with Android Studio, you can build with
Unity, and recently, also with Cocos Creator. In apps and games,
using the app bundle becomes smaller, because
Play’s Dynamic Delivery only sends the device what it needs. Our data shows
that, as a result, games switching to the
bundle see more than 3% increase in their
install success rate. Large games benefit even
more, with more than 4% install uplift. Gameloft’s “Minion
Rush, Despicable Me” switched to the app bundle. It reduced the size of
the game by 20%, which is obviously great for
users, and as a result, saw more than 3% increase in
their install success rate. And there are other
benefits, too. It’s not just more installs. We see that games
switching to bundle get more updates, which makes
sense since the update patches are smaller, too. In addition, we’ve learned
that the size of the game is a major factor in
the uninstall decision. We’re looking into
this area, and we plan to share more
numbers later this year. But generally speaking,
the larger your game is, the more likely it
will be uninstalled by users with limited storage. A few months ago,
we shared with you that by August we
want you to provide 64-bit versions of your games. This provides tremendous
performance improvements and sets you to a world
with 64-bit-only hardware. Some concern we’ve
heard over the years is that adding 64-bit support
makes your game bigger, because you need to
ship both the 64-bit and the 32-bit
libraries to the device. With the Android App Bundle,
this is no longer the case. Google Play’s Dynamic
Delivery will only ship the required
libraries based on the device architecture. And the great thing
here, you don’t need to do multi-APK
to achieve that. You can do this with a
single publishing artifact. To learn more about
preparing to 64-bit, please join this session
we’re co-hosting on Wednesday with Arm. All the details are right here. And please also read our blog
post for more information. You all build great
games, and you keeping improving them with time. And for your users
to take advantage of your latest and
greatest features, they need to be on the
latest version of your game. And you’re probably familiar
with Play’s auto updates, which reach tons of users. But given Play’s
enormous scale, there are always users who
will not be on the latest version of your game. So recently, we extended
our dynamic framework and introduced an early access
program for in-app updates. With this API, you
can update your users to the latest
version of your game without actually sending
them to the Play Store. You can see here an
example of how the Chrome app is using this API. And I want to show you
two flows that we support. The first flow is the
immediate update flow. This is for cases
when the user must be on the latest version of
their game to start playing. Today, some multiplayer
games already do this kind of blocking
flow, where they send users to the Play Store
to get the update and ask them to come
back afterwards. The great thing
about this new API is that it allows you
to do this in line. You can keep the
user in your game while they download
and install the update. The second flow is the
flexible update flow. This is for cases where you want
to upsell the latest features of your game to your users. You can have the user download
the update in the background while they keep
playing your game. We are ready to expand
the early access program to more developers. So if you’re interested, please
register with this URL right here. And we are also planning to
launch this to all developers publicly, soon. Now I want to tell you a little
bit about our future plans in the distribution space. Mobile devices keep
getting better every year– more computation power,
more memory and storage, better graphics. And as you know better
than anyone else, this creates huge
opportunities to deliver exciting mobile
gaming experiences. We realize that to do
that some games will need to be large, because they
have high fidelity graphics or have a lot of content. We also recognize that
some of the tools that Play has provided for large games
over the years, like OBBs, were not always the
most optimal ones. So the good news
is we’re investing in this space in 2019. Before I tell you
about our future plans, I want to make sure you’re all
aware of how things actually work now, because we made some
changes in this space lately. And this is about
how Play validates the size of your game
in the Play Console. Historically, we’ve only looked
at the upload size of your APK. This doesn’t make much sense
in a world of app bundles and Play Dynamic
Delivery anymore. So recently, we changed the size
validations across the board in the Play Console,
and we’re now only looking at the
compressed download size of your APK or app bundle. I started this
talk by telling you about the immediate benefits
of switching to the app bundle, like more installs
and more updates. I want to make sure you’re
aware that bundles are also the future format for
games on Google Play. Later this year, we
plan to provide you new tools to help you
move away from OBBs. This will be based on bundles. We’re going to provide you new
tools to deliver and optimize the delivery of game assets. This will be also
based on app bundles. So switching to
the bundle not only provides immediate
benefits, it sets you up to benefit from our future
investment in this area. But while it’s really exciting
to talk about the future, we all live in the present. So I want to mention
a couple of things that are happening right now. You’re probably all familiar
with the large download warning we show to users
in the Play Store. And over the years, we’ve
heard some developer feedback about how this large
warning negatively impacts the conversion rate
for large games on Play. So we’re making a
couple of changes here. First of all, we are going to
be more transparent with users and tell them the
exact download size. As a result, we will no
longer trigger this warning when the user is on
a Wi-Fi connection. And in addition, we
will make the option to proceed with the
download more explicit. And one more thing– we will no longer trigger
this warning at 100 megabytes. Starting today, we are
triggering this warning at 150 megabytes. [APPLAUSE] The size limit of the
Android app bundle will be increased
to 150 megabytes to make sure you could
take advantage of this. We are currently keeping the
size limit for APKs on 100, but you can still use APK and
OBB until we completely revise this space later this year. So today I talked to you
about our dynamic framework. I spoke about the
immediate benefits of switching to app
bundles, like more installs and more updates. I showed you how it better
sets you for a 64-bit and about our
latest API, allowing you to keep your users on the
latest version of your game. Finally, I told you
about some of our plans to better support large games
on Google Play and about some changes that
are happening today, like the new 150-megabyte
limit threshold. I hope you enjoyed this talk. Thank you for joining. Now, I’d like to call Fergus
to talk about Android vitals. [APPLAUSE] FERGUS HURLEY: Hey, everyone. I’m Fergus Hurley,
Product Manager at Google. Android vitals is
a program by Google to help improve the
quality of games and apps on the Android ecosystem. And we’ve been running this
program for about two years now. And I’m going to give you
an overview of the program. And then we’re going to have
Felipe from Tapps Games come to stage and talk you through
how they’re using Android vitals and a bunch
of other tools to help improve the
performance of the many games that they are building. So to start off, hands up who
wants more five-star ratings and less one-star ratings? OK. If you don’t have
your hand up, you might be working
for a competitor. So you might want
to change jobs. But when we look at the data
for reviews on Google Play, what we find is that the vast
majority of people talking about negative things
in one-star reviews are talking about bugs and
stability and other performance issues they’re having
and causing problems on their device. And so 42% are just talking
about stability and bugs alone. When we look at the five-star
reviews on the Play Store, we see that 70-plus
percent of the time, people are talking about speed,
design, and usability– positive performance signals. So what is the Android vitals
tool in the Play Console? It is a place where you can go
and see 15 performance metrics about your applications. These are broken out into
five performance areas– battery, stability, rendering,
startup time, and permission denials. For each of these metrics,
we provide you detailed reporting with breakdowns by
APK, OS version, and device. These help you to be able to
understand, where should you invest your time in improving
the tech and performance of your application? And these metrics are powered
by real users out there. The hundreds of
millions of Android users who’ve opted in to
sharing their data with Google, and you, our game partners. And these metrics are becoming
more and more important to the business success
of your application, because we can see that these
impact retention, engagement, and monetization
of games and apps. There’s a lot of information
in Android vitals. So to help you prioritize
where you invest your time, at the top of the Android
vitals section you’re provided core vitals. These are the four
metrics that we think are most
important to your users, and we have data to
show that they do impact your performance. And so the four metrics are in
the stability area, crash rate, and ANR rate. In the battery area we
have stuck wake locks and excessive wakeups. For each of these
core vitals, we have a bad behavior threshold. And the bad behavior
threshold enables you to be able to
know if you’re one of the worst performing
games for that metric. For the other vitals metrics,
we want you to look at them and be able to see how you’re
performing relative to others. And I’ll talk to you
about that in a second. Some of the vitals
metrics we have right now, such as the rendering
metrics, just capture UI
toolkit-rendered frames, and so they don’t
capture open GL. And so there are no
bad behavior thresholds for the rendering metrics or
the other non-core vitals. It’s an area that we
are working to improve in terms of having more
insights for your games that are using open GL. One of the things that Google
Play is uniquely positioned to offer is benchmarking
across different games, because we have the data
across the platform. Right now we offer
category-level benchmarks. So for each vital metric, you
can go in and select which category of the Play Store that
you’re in across all the games categories that we
currently support and see if you’re doing worse
or better than the competitors in that market. And so you can see
then that games that are in the racing
car games area usually have a slower startup
time than other games. And so this enables you
to be able to understand how are you doing
versus your competitors and be able to understand if
you should be investing more in that area than others. This is an area that we are
continually investing in, and you should expect to
see a lot more advancements in this area over the
next couple of months. Another major piece of feedback
we got on the Android vitals product is that people
wanted to be alerted when there was a major
change in any of the metrics. So we have anomaly alert
emails and notifications in the console. These show you when
there’s a spike in any of your crash
or ANR clusters or in any of the core vitals. You can be able
to go in and sign up for these anomaly
alert emails yourself. Just go to the
Notification Preferences section of the Play Console. Sometimes we hear
developers talk about how Android vitals only
applies to bigger developers, and we know that developers who
are smaller, any developers, are getting a lot of
value out of the product. And if you’re not
using it already, I’d encourage you to
join the over 100,000 game and app developers
that are using it today. Now I’ll hand it over to
Felipe from Tapps Games to talk about how he’s using
Android vitals and other tools for Tapps Games. [APPLAUSE] FELIPE HAYASHIDA: Hi, everyone. My name is Felipe Hayashida. I oversee marketing and
analytics for Tapps Games. And before anything
else, I wanted to talk to you a
little bit about Tapps. So we’re a Brazilian studio. We’ve been in the
market since 2012. And we have a little
bit over 180 people in our studio in San Paolo. We have a little bit
over 30 million users. But more importantly,
we’ve developed ourselves over 400 titles
across the years. And I wanted to talk to
you a little bit about how we deal with this today. So the first thing is, having
400 titles is complicated. So when we’re
talking about this, we split our portfolio
in two main areas. So we have legacy titles,
which are the ones that we are keeping
technically updated, but we don’t really put
anything else in the game, so we don’t get new features. The important part, though,
are the games that are live. So the games that
we have game squads. So teams that we
have with people from different categories. So developers and testers
and QAs, et cetera– everyone on the same team. And of course,
several of the teams are not directly related
to a single title, such as marketing, for example. Each of these titles,
the live ones, they go through several
stages of development, right? I’m pretty sure you saw several
different frameworks for this. For us, it’s split in more
or less as five categories. So games go all the
way from concepting, where we’re figuring
out the market, seeing what actually
is happening, and seeing what game
we should actually build, all the way to having the
gaming operation, where we’re just keeping them live,
keeping events and pushes and how that goes. Across several of
these, though, several of these stages, a
very important part is deployment, right? I know several of you have
different takes on it. And we tend to use it on a
very simple three-stage step that I want to
talk to you about. The first one for us is
pretty straightforward. So just talking
about building, so getting our game in
the store itself. We have a specific
pipeline, because the amount of games that we used
to publish every month. This is highly automated. We use a GoCD pipeline, where
we ship things to the store, go through automated and manual
testing, and get it live. The most important part though,
especially for deployment, is the role of monitoring, which
is where vitals, specifically, has been very useful for us. This has, for us, takes
from 7 to 10 days, where we are rolling out across
our user base who’s getting the new version of the game. We have both business
and technical teams monitoring rollout. So while the business team
is just using simple tools, either through the console
itself or through our own analytics– which is largely
based on Firebase, by the way– these are just
checking major metrics. So are we getting
major drops in reviews? Are we getting actual
spikes in reviews? And how we can
actually act on it. From a technical
perspective though, this is where our
developer and testing team are the most conscious
about what we’re doing. During this phase, we are
monitoring both ANR crash rates, which are the
issues that we have the most, most of the time. And these are being checked
constantly and proactively across the whole period. After that’s done, we’ll
go into live monitoring, which is business as
usual for most games. So there’s not just
actually deployment, but it’s where we shift– from a business perspective, we
shift to a much more proactive approach. So we’re tracking the
deeper metrics in the game that we can’t really
see during deployment. And from a technical
perspective, we go into a more reactive
side based largely on alarms. So using Crashlytics and
vitals to having alarms on all the stores and all
the games that we have. Because honestly, if you have
400 titles, checking all of them manually is
just not feasible. I want to share with
you a simple use case that I’m sure
several of you have gone through
across the years, which was one of our releases last
year on “Bid Wars,” which is our current biggest title. So we were releasing a new
version, several updates, several partner
updates, and, of course, getting a lot of
technical fixes online. In this case, both our
technical and business teams got a sign as soon as
we were rolling out. So we got a spike on reviews. Our games usually have
relatively good reviews. So getting a spike saying
people couldn’t access a game or the game
was crashing, there was definitely something wrong. And lo and behold, we
were also getting a spike on ANRs of the game. Investigating this was done
as soon as we were reaching 20% rollout, so
we didn’t actually reach the whole user base. And pretty much what
was done was just– it was on Android specifically,
so we were checking, we were seeing that we were
getting a lot of crashes on specific third-party SDK. How do you solve that? As everyone else does. So pull it out, stop rollout,
and actually remove that SDK. It was something that would take
a little bit longer to test. It’s very important, though,
to notice that this is something very common, right? There’s no secret sauce here. But I’m pretty sure all of
you have seen this before. And for us, being able to
catch this before it actually impacted our revenue,
so it actually impacted most of our users,
it’s very important. And this is part of what we
learned across the years. So first, the tools
themselves don’t have to be that complicated. So know that you don’t have
to necessarily overshoot. You don’t need a complicated,
technical analysis team to make it work. You can just have
tools that give you what you can react upon. Second, quality of the app. Differently, from what
you used to do in the past and from what most
people do, it’s not about just a technical team. Everyone is impacted
and everyone should be paying
attention to what we get on that performance. And more, in the end, quality. It’s about discipline
and effectiveness. So know that every
single time that you’re launching something, you have
to be monitoring actively. And once it’s live, you
have to pay attention. You can’t just expect
it to be ready for you. So I think that’s a
little bit about it that I wanted to
share with you guys. And I want to call Fergus
back to talk to us. [APPLAUSE] FERGUS HURLEY: Thanks very
much, Felipe, for that. We hope that in
the future, we’ll be able to share great examples
from you about how you’ve used Android vitals
to be able to improve the performance of your games. We know that technical
performance is critical to business success. What we have also heard
is that sometimes it’s hard to make the
case for investing in technical performance
within companies. So I encourage you
to use the benchmarks that we provide in
the Play Console to make the case of
where you and your team should be investing more
to be able to compete more effectively. I’d also encourage you
to focus your attention on the core vitals, if you have
limited availability, to be able to focus on performance. And make sure to sign up for the
email alerts around anomalies and get the rest
of your team that are focused on reacting
to technical issues to sign up, too. We have a session later today
about bug hunting on Android by Damien, who’s
going to be diving into specific detailed examples
that developers have faced. So I encourage you to
attend that, as well. Thank you very much,
everyone, for joining. [APPLAUSE] EMILY PUTZE: Hi, everyone. My name is Emily Putze. And I am a BD manager on the
Google Play Games BD team. And today, I am here with
my colleague Jonathan, who’ll come up to the stage
in a couple of minutes to talk to you about
some powerful tools that can help you more
effectively market your new and existing
games in the Play Store. As we all know, marketing
is critical to the success of games at all stages
of their lifecycle. Before launch, it’s important to
build excitement and awareness for your new games. At launch, you want to turn
this awareness into installs, and also make sure that
your store listing is ready and optimized to attract
as many prospective players as possible. And of course, after
launch, you want to continue acquiring
new users and make sure that your store listing
stays relevant, as you make big updates to your game. So today, we’re going to
focus on a few tools that can help you better market
your game in the Play Store in each of these three phases. First up, let’s talk
about pre-launch marketing and pre-registration. Today, many businesses
do pre-launch marketing to build hype and awareness
ahead of big upcoming product launches. There’s a long history of
this in tech, entertainment, and even in gaming, particularly
in the PC and console gaming worlds, where
pre-launch marketing and even things
like pre-ordering are well-established norms. Well, today,
pre-launch marketing is also increasingly
popular for mobile games. However, until recently,
it was actually really hard to do pre-launch
marketing for mobile games well, because there was
no real way for developers to tie all the marketing that
they were doing across channels directly to their game launch. Instead, what we
would tend to see a developer do is
spend a lot of money prior to launch to build
hype and awareness, use suboptimal tools
that really only allowed you to capture a
portion of the demand that you were creating
through that marketing, and mostly just hope that
that buzz that you created would translate into
real installs at launch. Well, today, as you heard
a little bit earlier, I’m very excited to announce
that Google Play’s solution to this pre-launch marketing
problem for mobile games, a feature known as
pre-registration, is now available to all
developers on Google Play. [APPLAUSE] So for those of you
who are not familiar, Play’s pre-registration feature
is an extremely powerful tool that essentially allows
developers to fully capture the demand that you generate
through your pre-launch marketing activities. And we actually activate
that demand for you on your launch day. So how does this
technically work? Developers essentially tie all
of their pre-launch marketing across channels to one
page in the Google Play Store, your pre-registration
store listing. And that listing has
a very clear call to action for interested users,
where they can pre-register for your upcoming game. And in return for
pre-registering, what users will get is
actually a direct notification from the Google Play
Store letting them know that your game
is now available, allowing them to be some of
the first to install and play. Now, pre-registration also
has a lot of key benefits for developers at
launch, as well. Not only does pre-reg allow you
to engage and reward your core fans early, but pre-registration
notifications also drive a high volume of D1 and
D7 installs, both in general and when compared to other
pre-registration tools that are available
in the market. In other words, Play’s
pre-registration tool is extremely effective at
converting pre-registered users into installs. In fact, across all
geographies and all genres, we tend to see that
there is a 38% conversion rate from pre-registered users
to installs after launch. Now, this is a much,
much higher conversion rate that you would see through
other pre-registration sources, around 2 to 3x, and
it’s pretty compelling. Plus, Play’s
pre-registration campaigns are actually really easy
to setup and manage, and you can do that directly
in the Play Console. So in the Pre-Registration
Center on the console, you can setup and
manage your campaigns, you can decide
which countries you want to run your
campaigns in and when, and you can actually view your
campaign performance data. So for instance,
before launch you can see the number of
users who have signed up. And after launch, you
can see how many of those users converted into installs. And you can do these
breakouts across geographies. Another very cool feature
related to pre-registration that is now available
in the Play Console is related to Play Instant. Earlier today, from
Ben and others, you heard a little bit about
how effective instant games are in terms of driving
user conversions. Well, as of today, we are
very excited to also announce that now you can add an
instant experience directly to your pre-registration
store listing. And this will allow you
to attract even more users to sign up for
your full product launch and drive greater
awareness and excitement. Another pre-registration
feature that will be coming soon
to the Play Console is the ability for developers
to grant rewards directly to pre-registered users. Now, this is really exciting,
because what we’ve seen is that rewards, in general,
can help drive greater consumer interest in
pre-registration campaigns. So for instance, listings
that actually market pre-registration rewards can
drive as much as a 15% higher click-through rate
than those who don’t. And on the backside,
when it comes to conversions to install,
pre-registration rewards can also help drive
higher conversions. Because on day one, there
is value waiting in-game for pre-registered users to
come, claim, and consume. So as I mentioned,
you can expect to hear more about
this very, very soon. Lastly, I’m excited to
share one more product update around
pre-registration, which is that Google Ads will now
offer app campaign support for pre-registration campaigns. Obviously, this is
a great, new way to reach prospective
players, but more to come on this in
sessions this afternoon. Finally, a few recommendations
for developers who are interested in
using pre-registration. First, allow time
to build excitement within your audiences
before your launch. Generally, we see
developers starting pre-registration campaigns
anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks ahead of launch. Second, make sure you’re using
all channels at your disposal to support your
pre-registration campaigns. This means social, CRM,
media, you name it. Third, make sure you drive your
Android traffic to pre-register in the Play Store, due to
the higher conversion rates we see in the Play Store
versus external websites. And finally, consider
using Play Instant alongside your
pre-registration campaigns to drive greater consumer
interest and awareness for your upcoming launches. Now I’d like to invite
my colleague Jonathan up to the stage to talk to you
about some other powerful marketing tools that can help
you at launch and beyond. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] JONATHAN CHEUNG: Thanks, Emily. Let’s switch gears and talk
about some exciting features around store listings. Whether during pre-launch,
launch, or post-launch, having an effective store
listing can be critical to the
success of your titles. For many, your store
listing is the first thing a user will see about your game. If it doesn’t immediately
grab their attention, they’re likely to move on. In general, we see that,
for game developers, your icons, videos,
and screenshots are particularly
important on your store listing for user acquisition. For instance, game
devs can see up to 40% difference in
conversion performance when testing different icons. And data suggests that we see
similar variability for videos and screenshots, as well. We’ve also seen that the
ordering of your marketing assets can impact
user acquisition. Because gamers really
want to quickly get a sense of the true
gameplay experience, we really recommend that it’s
important to put marketing assets that highlight
key gameplay features, like your videos
and screenshots, upfront in your store listing
in the first position. Also, a quick PSA– it’s important to
call out, that to be eligible for the new
visual promotional clusters on the Play Store, you must have
a landscape-orientation video trailer and a minimum of
three landscape screenshots. So really make sure you
have these, and put them up front in your store
listings to get the most out of your users. Now, I will say that one of
the most common pain points we hear from developers
about store listings is that, although
they can already localize into
different languages, they want the ability
to customize their store listings based on
where their users live. For instance, maybe you’re
making a sports game and you want to market
it as football in Europe, but soccer in the US, in order
to make your store listing as locally relevant as possible. Well, now you can. Today, we’re excited to announce
a powerful new feature only available on Google Play
called country-targeted store listings. With this feature,
you can customize your store listings based
on the user’s country, as well as their locale setting. And from the Play
Console, you can create up to five different
groups of countries and set up a completely
different store listing for each group, complete with
full localization support. All parts of your
store listing can be customized, from your
icon, your screenshots, your promo message,
your video, you name it. And you can also localize
everything there, as well, in order to better appeal to
users in your target market. Even better, because you can
target different store listings to different countries,
technically, you can target based on
the state of your game in different countries, as well. So for instance, in games
we’re running actively pre-registration,
your listing might want to highlight
the rewards users may get for pre-registering
or display a pre-launch teaser trailer. And in countries we are actively
enrolling for open tests, your store listing can
highlight key gameplay features in order to entice people
to install and become part of your test. This is a really powerful way
to target your marketing message to the right sets of users. And country-targeted
store listings is launching right now to all
developers on Google Play. Now that we’ve talked about
the importance of your listing for the lifecycle
of your game, I think it’s also important to
discuss one of the best ways to test and manage changes
to your store listing in a controlled fashion– store listing experiments. Store listing experiments is
one of the most popular tools among top game developers. It’s a tool that allows you
to A/B test your store listing assets against user traffic,
so that you can make the most data-informed decisions
about which of your assets are driving the most installs. Using Play Console,
you can swap out assets on your store listing,
such as your screenshots and video, to certain
percentages of users who visit your store listing
and compare the performances of each variant before applying
them to your full user base. As mentioned before, testing
and optimizing certain assets can yield huge differences
in performance. Running experiments
also allows you to roll out these changes in
a safe and controlled fashion. For those of you that are
already using store listing experiments, we are happy to
announce that we’ve recently rolled out some
exciting improvements to how experiment
results are reported. First off, we are
introducing two new metrics, which are replacing the existing
metrics on the Play Store. First-time installers,
it tracks users who see your listing in a
store for the first time and omits reinstallers who are
less likely to be influenced by your store listing. Day-one retained users tracks
users who install and do not uninstall within one day. We believe both of
these new metrics more accurately reflect the
performance of your store listing. And you, as
developers, can choose which ones to use as
your success metrics in your experiments. Both metrics are also reported
at hourly intervals updated every few hours, allowing
you to see results faster. And you can also now opt in to
email notifications about when your experiments finish. By reporting the results faster
and providing notifications, you can run more experiments and
terminate bad treatments faster to minimize install drops. All of this is coming right
now to the Play Console and is available
to all developers. OK. So here are some tips and
tricks about store listing experiments. Have a clear objective
about what you want to test, and test one thing
at a time to make sure the experiment results are
great before you apply them. Test for 7 days minimum in
order to get weekday and weekend performance. Prioritize testing of icons,
videos, and screenshots for the biggest impact. And you can also
invert your experiments to validate the true performance
before applying to all. OK. So that about wraps up my
talk about marketing tools. And I wanted to give you some
key takeaways from the session that you can do right now. Consider using pre-registration
for your upcoming launches. It’s a great way to build
interest, pre-launch. Consider building
an instant game to run alongside this
campaign, as well. Optimize your store
listings using SLEs. Top developers are already
finding great success to using this. And finally, look into how
you can make your store listings more
relevant to your users using country-targeted
store listings. For instance, using
a store listing to run pre-reg and one for
launched or test countries. Thanks. Next, I’d like to invite
Nacho to the stage, who’s going to talk about lifetime
value for your games. [APPLAUSE] IGNACIO MONEREO: Hi, everyone. My name is Ignacio, or
Nacho, as people call me. I am based in London. I work with game developers
across the Western Europe region. And this session is
about lifetime value, which is a dense topic. And it only started for
me about three years ago, when very often I heard this
term mentioned in my meetings with developers. And in fact, it’s a very
popular metric to the point that the latest
report by Mary Meeker last year was mentioning this
is the number one metric when it comes to ad spending. So really, really, developers,
they care about it. And if you take into
consideration the context where we are, on one side we have
the mobile gaming industry, which is highly competitive. And on the other hand,
we have all this data that we’re sitting on, and
it’s becoming more available and easier to handle. So this is really
leading to developers to feel the need that
they need to understand the value of their players
from the very first minute they jump into the game. And as such, they’re using
lifetime value metric for many purposes. So the first one is like
marketing viability, which we spoke already. So how far we can
push those CPIs and how much we can invest
in acquiring a user. But also, we see a
lot of developers thinking about live-ops and
running some of the offers, running some of the
promotions within the game. As well, if we
think even bolder, we can think about
product prioritization. We can think about
new games, if we are looking to improve our LTV
across the portfolio of games that we have. And last but not least, if
we subtract some of the cost and we think about it
in net terms of LTV, we can think about
the profit margins. So as an example,
GameHouse is a developer based in the
Netherlands and Spain, and they’re using lifetime
value to do many of the things that we mentioned. So they’re doing
user acquisition. They are doing remarketing,
re-engagement, retargeting, and they’re even
thinking about LiveOps for the new game,
“Doctor’s Oath.” So in an ideal world,
our lifetime value metric would look like in this way. So it would be predictive,
where we’re looking forward rather than just
like historical data. It would be a metric that is
extremely accurate, because we need to take decisions with a
certain degree of confidence. It would be also looking at an
individual level rather than cohorts. And it would be fast. From the very first
day, we will know what is the value
that this player is going to bring in its lifetime. As well, the model
that we’re using, it would be fast
and simple, meaning that we don’t have
to spend months in order to train this model. But the first thing
that you learn when you start researching
about lifetime value is that there is no standard
way of calculating it, which means that this
comes with some trade-offs and some challenges. We asked Plarium, an
Israeli developer, the creator of
“Vikings, War of Clans,” and they told us they
faced three key challenges. The first one is how to
estimate the lifetime value for a certain type of players. They call it outliers,
and these are players that they might
be highly engaged, but still, they are non-payers. As well, they have multiple
games in their portfolio. And it’s very difficult
for them to use one unique model that
really is adjusting to every type of game. And last but not
least, the long window that is needed to validate
these models, in fact, is higher than expected. But whenever we are
talking about developers, they see that these
models, all of them, they have several common
things, common areas. In this case, we
could have split lifetime value in three areas. And the first one we would
talk about, what is lifetime? That is generally represented
in daily retention, and this is a classic way. But here, many
developers, they are starting to think about whether
the classic retention is like the one that makes more
sense for their own game, and they can think
about other ways of calculating retention,
such as, for example, range or rolling retention. Also, think about retention,
it means, right now, opening the app. But it is not the same as if
we’re opening the game just to collect the daily reward
or to play another battle. The second area
would be the value. And this is
generally represented by purchases or by averages,
such as ARPDAU or ARPPU. And in this case, if you
are considering averages, it’s very important to take into
account, as well, how long are you going backwards? Let’s imagine that, for example,
you ran an offer last week. And then last but not
least is the period. So how far are we going
into the future in order to estimate our lifetime value? And generally, from my
conversations with developers, it all comes down
to two things– the nature of the game, and as
well, how well-funded are we in terms of acquiring users
for like a period of 180 days or 365 days. Here we have an example
that I just mentioned. For example, in this case, we
are taking the ARPPU of a user and we are projecting
for 180 days. So other things that
developers take into account when they refer
to lifetime value. So we have, first
of all, how do we integrate all the
different business models that we are monetizing nowadays? So how do we include
in-app purchases together with subscriptions
and together with ads? As well, if you are
a developer that has multiple games
in your portfolio and you are running some
sort of in-house ads and cross-promotions,
it is the best practice, that some developers, they’re
thinking about their lifetime value across their
whole portfolio. Last but not least, we’re
talking about, as well, virality and K-factor effect. So this might not affect
the lifetime value, but indeed affects the
return on ads spent. And some other areas
that developers can see, there is, as I said
before, net LTV. Also, the frequency when
we do these calculations, and what are the segments
that we are using, if we are applying averages. So I tried to cluster,
which is very difficult. I tried to cluster all these
models into three areas. So the first one, if
we have small data, we have to make
decisions, we can see that these simple
predictive models, which are looking at averages– we are trying to
estimate based on this, for example, a
bottoms-up approach or a top-down approach. We are trying to estimate
the lifetime value of a user. You have a number of tools
available today in the Play Console, and, as well,
in some analytical tools, such as Firebase, where you
can extract this information and start working
around these models. If you have more data and
you have more mature games, actually, also you have
more resources to dedicate, you can think about these
predictive statistical models, which generally they’re
coming from the offline world, and they are backed by academia. And you have a couple
of examples here– Pareto-NBD, BG-NBD. The good news is that
they are open-source, and you can download
the libraries. In this case, I put
Lifetimes Python library, which is open for everyone, and
you can start playing around. The good news is it will have
individual predictive lifetime values already. And it would be very helpful
if you want to run live-ops. And then last but not least,
we have the predictive machine learning models– way more sophisticated, a
bit more complex, as well. But they’re extremely
helpful, if you are trying to understand
what are the behaviors that are driving certain actions,
such as making purchases. If you want to start– like
we have Firebase predictions. There is going to be a
session later on today. And you can think about
using these as a first step into these type of models. Obviously, if you
have more resources, you can use Tensor
Flow or AutoML to build your own algorithms
based on random forest or neuronal networks. So GameHouse, the same developer
that I was mentioning before, they use historical data
combined with machine learning, and they’re able to estimate
a lifetime value within a week with 90% accuracy. So which one is the best? This is the most
trickiest question. I would say, in this case, also
the answer would be it depends. It depends on your
resources, what you want to do with this
metric, and how much effort you want to put into it. If you, for example, don’t
have too much data or too much resources, some of the
simple predictive models would be interesting. If you, for example, have a very
clear focus on user acquisition and you have the data
and the resources, some of these machine
learning predictive models could be very helpful
in order to understand the likelihood of a new
player becoming a payer. And then, if you
have a mature game with lots of data and
highly-engaged users, you can think about
predictive statistical models, which they run very well
to calculate live-ops. I want to spend the last two
minutes talking about a case study. Space Ape is a developer
from the UK founded in 2012. And he’s the creator
of popular games, such as “Samurai
Siege” and “Fastlane.” In this case, the
Space Ape, they calculated the lifetime value
based on historical data and using statistical models. They have data for
about one to six months. And after the day two,
they are able to estimate what is going to be the lifetime
value with an 80% to 90% accuracy. The way they do it is
they create segments based on tenure,
based on geography, and they multiply the
revenues generated of that particular
player by a ratio that they estimate
based on their models. So the LTV is mainly used for
user-acquisition purposes, but also Space Ape
uses it for live-ops. The LTV metric is
refreshed on a daily basis. And they have two interesting
additional LTV metrics. One is called LTV+, which
essentially is adding a small percentage to these metrics
and is used only for user acquisition purposes. And this is to take into account
the virality or the K-factor. Then, the second
one is the ad LTV. And what they are doing
is, thanks to partnerships with networks, they are
trying to understand what goes beyond the
ad view and even what would be the conversion
of a particular player when they see a rewarded
ad, for example. So in essence, for Space
Ape, lifetime value is a critical metric,
and they aim to actually have a return in that
span of at least 100% in the first two months. So with this, I would like
to conclude with four things. So the first one
is, remember, we are using lifetime value for
user acquisition purposes, but you can use it, as well, for
other topics or other purposes, such as live-ops, or
in this case, net LTV. As well, when possible, try
to use a predictive model, an individual. And as well, consider
other things, such as how are we
going to use this model? How are we going
to use this metric? And if we have, for example,
multiple apps in our portfolio, how are we going to incorporate
other business models? Now, last but not least,
predicting the future obviously is not 100% accurate
science, so take these more as a tool and as a metric
rather than just a goal.

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