Making Mobile Games More Magnificent
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Making Mobile Games More Magnificent

August 28, 2019


GREG HARTRELL: So today, I have
the privilege of welcoming you to Google’s Developer Day 2015. I want to spend a little bit of
time talking about how we view the opportunity in mobile
games with all of our platforms and services, and then
take you through some of the new announcements that
we’re really excited to share with you today. As you all know, Android
is incredibly popular. And the platform has
grown tremendously since we launched it
in 2008 with the G1 to a mere few thousand users. Six short years later, it’s the
most popular mobile operating system platform in the
world, accounting for three out of every four smartphones
and three out of every five tablets. And Android’s not
only popular, but it’s amazing to see how powerful
the platform’s become. And we know that more than
85% of Android devices are now running
Android 4.0 and higher, and that’s growing every day. But if you look beyond
just market share, the aggregate size of
the Android device base is equally impressive. It’s grown exponentially
over the last few years, and its velocity continues. We crossed this
milestone last year, announcing that we have over
a billion active devices around the world. That scale is truly
unprecedented. And when you take a
games lens to this, there’s three in
four Android users playing games from Google Play. That is a lot of people
playing games, needless to say. And this kind of
audience makes Google Play one of the most interesting
opportunities for game developers today. Android is also a
truly global platform. And judging from
the audience, we know that you’re coming from
all corners of the globe, and the scale of our
international growth is pretty amazing. We have partnerships with 60
device manufacturers, devices all over the world
that are running on 329 distinct carriers. And the people using Android
come from over 190 countries. When you combine
all that together, this might be the largest
platform of people playing games perhaps ever created,
and our investments here are going to continue. One of the areas that
we invest in really heavily is also in our global
payments infrastructure. In the past few years, we’ve
done great integrations with carriers for billing. We’re doing that now in 32
countries around the world. We’ve accelerated the rollout
of Google Play gift cards in retail locations, and we
have that now in 28 countries. And PayPal is a form of
payment in 19 countries and going strong. I’m also happy to say that
with this growth of Android and Google Play, it’s paying
off for developers too. Last week, we announced
that Google Play has paid out over $7 billion to
developers over the past year. And that makes the
opportunity for apps and games really intense. And so starting from
phones and tablets, and going to TVs, wearables,
and cars, Android is expanding. And while Android and Play
are these platforms that make these devices
possible, the truth is the games that you
create, and the apps that are brought to the
ecosystem, is what makes them really worthwhile. And so that’s one
of the reasons why we’re big on helping you
tap into this opportunity. Google helps take your
games to new heights through our strengths in
mobile and in cloud services. This collection of
platforms and services help you distribute
to a mass audience, promote and monetize your
game, and build your audience, and measure your success. So that’s the opportunity
in a nutshell. What I want to do is switch
to talking the new stuff, and this can be thought
of in these three buckets. We’ll talk about new things to
measure and monetize your game. We’ll talk about
the living room, and then we’ll talk
about completely new game experiences that are emerging. So on the measurement front,
when you publish your game through Google Play,
you get really key tools from Google Play services
and the Google Play Developer Console. These are essential to
running an effective game business in our ecosystem. Some recent announcements
in the Developer Console involve our conversion
rate reports. This is the percentage
of users who have purchased an in-app item
or subscription since they installed the game, and our
spending per buyer report, which shows your
users and what they’ve spent cumulatively since they
made their first purchase. Of course, it’s really essential
when you’re updating your game to understand how player
spending behaviors are changing over time and understanding
whether their lifetime value is working out the way
that you expect. We also announced the ability
to programmatically access Play data. So if you have
internal tools where you want to bring in this
data and analyze it yourself, or use it in third party
tools, or other query engines like Google’s BigQuery,
that’s available to you now as well. In past announcements,
we’ve talked to you about Google Play
Games, our game network, which continues to grow and help
developers engage and retain their users. It is growing at a
rapid pace, and we see more and more developers
incorporating it and seeing great results. If you have exemplary
implementations for things like achievements,
leaderboards, quests, we’re finding developers
able to substantially retain their users, increase
their lifetime value and their revenue as a result. Now, last year, we talked
to you about bringing you demographic data and
key business metrics through the Google
Play Developer Console, if you’ve incorporated
game services. And after experiencing
the benefits of that data, many of you are
actively using it but also told you
you wanted more. You wanted more player
insights, and you wanted more key business metrics. So we’ve heard you, and I’d
like to invite my colleague Ben onto the stage to tell
you about a new feature that we call Play Games
Play Analytics that’s launching soon. Ben. BEN FRENKEL: Which one of these
buttons is the [? board? ?] GREG HARTRELL: You go right. BEN FRENKEL: Right. GREG HARTRELL: And the center
button’s the laser pointer. Essential. BEN FRENKEL: Center button,
laser pointer– check. All right. I think we’re all set. So thank you, Greg. Creating a great
game is no longer enough to be successful
in mobile gaming. It’s still required, but it’s
now an insufficient condition for success. And as we look at the
mobile gaming landscape, it’s increasingly
split into two camps– those with the
resources and tools to manage their game as a
service, and everyone else. And when we look at larger
developers that successfully manage their game
as a service, we find that they do three
things really well. One, they set and
manage their business to daily revenue targets. Two, they can identify hotspots
in their business metrics so they can continuously
focus on the updates to their game that will
have the most impact. And three, they use
analytics to understand how their players are
progressing, spending, and churning. So what does it take
for a typical big studio to do all these things? Well, a big studio
will have many teams managing all the different
functions of a game studio. So you’ll have a team of people
focused on game development, obviously, a group of
data scientists focused on analytics, and teams for
operations, and infrastructure support, and
marketing, and so on. On the other hand, this is
what you, the indie developer, probably looks like– a
small team, possibly just one developer, doing everything. Now, this indie developer
here, this happy guy with the green hoodie, he
wants to spend all of his time focused on building
games, right? I’m sure many of you in the
audience feel the same way. And you know what? That leaves very little
time for everything else. And it’s bridging
this gap between what the big studios can do and
what you, the indie developer, can do that was the
primary motivation for what we’re excited to announce
today– Play Games Player Analytics. So its launching in the next
few weeks, in the Play Developer Console, and this
new tool will enable you to do the
three things I just described– manage your business
to daily revenue targets, identify hotspots in
your business metrics so you can continuously
focus on the updates to your game that will have
the most impact, and three, understand how your players
are progressing, spending, and churning. And all of Player Analytics
is available for free in the Developer Console
for everybody who integrates Play game services. So I’ll quickly walk you
through the set of experiences we’ll be providing at launch. So everything starts with you
setting your daily revenue targets. And from there, once
you’ve done that, you can come back into the
Developer Console every day and check to see if you’re on
track to meet your business objectives. And as you can see
in the chart here, this developer has set their
daily revenue target to $125, is on track to exceed
their monthly goal, and you know what? At the end of the month,
they should probably consider raising
their target higher. But if it wasn’t a
positive trend in the data that they were seeing, and
they were below the line, then this report would end up
being the starting point of an investigation into how
they can improve their game. And to help you
focus on the areas where your game updates
will have the most impact, we give you the ability
to identify hotspots in your business metrics. So first, we compute
a set of benchmarks from a variety of inputs,
including the category that your game is in. And based on those
benchmarks, we create a heat map of your
key financial and engagement metrics. Metrics highlighted in red
are likely to offer the best opportunity for improvement. And as you can see here,
this game developer is doing pretty well overall. See that sea of green there
in the chart at the bottom? Green is good. And so there’s one exception. Average revenue per
user is in dark red, and trending down, and
well below the benchmark for similar games. And this developer can
now have a laser focus on improving just one
thing now, and that’s average revenue per user. And to help you
better understand how your players are
progressing, spending, and churning, we give you
this classic retention table and player progression
funnel, as you can see here. Now, everything I just
described is available to you by virtue of your integration
with Play game services with near zero
incremental effort. But for a little
extra work, you’ll be able to unlock another
set of valuable reports with the Sources
and Sinks Report, which I’ll go over in
a second, starting off. Throughout the development
of Player Analytics, we have been fortunate to work
with some amazing partners, and one of them is
in the room today. And I can see him right there. It’s Eric Froemling, the
developer of “BombSquad.” Let’s go ahead and
wave to the crowd here. You’re going to want to
talk to him after this and learn a little bit
more about his experiences with Player Analytics. So Eric is the archetype
of that indie developer that I was describing before
but without the green hoodie. And he’s a one-man army
that does everything for his critically
acclaimed game, “BombSquad,” including having
built the underlying game engine, which is
extremely impressive. And when we started working
with Eric a month or so ago, we could tell Eric had a
great game on his hands– millions of downloads, engaged
users, a loyal fan base. But like many of
you in the audience who also have a great game, he
was struggling to make money. So when Eric started to dig
into the Player Analytics data, in particular the Sources and
Sinks Report you can see here, he was immediately able to spot
an imbalance in “BombSquad’s” game economy. He was giving away tickets,
his premium currency, at a higher rate than people
were able to spend them. And under those
conditions, there was little reason for
people to purchase tickets. And so he made a couple
of changes to his game. He added new ways
to consume tickets in the single player and
multiplayer modes in his game, to bring his economy
back into balance. And the impact has been
transformational for Eric. So in addition to correcting
the economy imbalance, Eric has seen more
than double in growth in average revenue per user and
seen average revenue per paying user grow by almost 70%. That’s almost unheard of growth
in such a short period of time. So congratulations, Eric. [APPLAUSE] And in his own words, “Player
Analytics has helped me home in on ‘BombSquad’s’
shortcomings, right the ship, and get to the point where I
can financially justify making the games I want to make.” And Player Analytics has now
successfully bridged that gap I was describing before
between the big studio and what the indie
developer can do, and he can run his
game as a live service. So to recap, Player
Analytics will help you do three things to
manage your game as a service. One, set and manage
your business to daily revenue targets. Two, identify hotspots
in your business metrics so you continuously
focus on the updates to your game that will
have the most impact. And three, deepen
your understanding of how your players are
progressing, spending, and churning. And again, all of these reports
will be available for free in the Developer Console
in the next few weeks. Now, creating a successful
game is still a lot of work. But with Player
Analytics, integrating with Play game services is a
great first step to success. So with that, I’ll
hand it back to you. GREG HARTRELL: Thanks, Mr. Ben. [APPLAUSE] That was pretty exciting. I also want to switch over
to talking about monetization and also get us back on time. We’ve got a clicker, and
we’re going to use it. So successful game developers,
we know, deploy sophisticated monetization models
for their games, and ads play a really important
role in that exercise. When you think about a good
ads monetization strategy, it really depends on
these three things. One is you need to understand
your users in a very deep way. You want to be able
to tailor your game experiences to those audiences
and react to how they behave. Second is you want to show
ads at the right time, and this is so you
can maximize revenue for people who are
likely to spend, and also have a variety of ad formats. And those ad formats
help you find the balance between
when you show an ad and how you keep users
properly engaged in your game. Now, if you’ve gone through
the exercise of thinking about building this yourself,
or if you’ve done that, you know it’s a big investment,
both in software engineering resources, know-how,
and not to mention, the back-end infrastructure. Meanwhile, AdMob can provide
all these tools that you need, and I’m excited to share with
you three big announcements for ads that represent,
really, a platform that’s a smart, audience-aware
platform for showing the right ads to your players. The first of these tools
is called Audience Builder. It’s now available to
all AdMob developers who use Google Play Analytics,
or Google Analytics globally. Audience Builder through
AdMob is this way of creating a list of
users, or audience lists, based on Google
Analytics segments. These can be based on behaviors,
like sessions or spending. And it enables you to play
with different monetization strategies with those users. So a canonical example
might be taking a segment of users
that were previously paying users who had
churned out after 30 days, creating an audience
list for them, and then creating an ad campaign
to try to attract them back to your game. The second tool is called
In-App Purchase House Ads. House Ads are, as
some of you know, free ads that you
display in your game to promote in-game items and
consumables that players might want to enhance their gameplay. A challenge with
House Ads, of course, though, is that everybody’s in
a different stage in your game. Early players are
probably going to be interested in a different
set of purchasable items, versus advanced players
who may be more nuanced. AdMob solves this with
Google algorithms and machine learning to only show
these types of ads to users who are likely
to take advantage of them. We do all that work
for you so players can get the ad that they
want, and for everybody else, you can focus on creating
a different experience. And lastly, we’re incredibly
excited to announce a new format,
Native Ads, which is available through
a limited beta. Native Ads is this
popular industry term that’s used to describe an ad
experience that essentially weaves into the product’s
form and function so it looks like it belongs. Google has a lot of
experience doing this well, and we’re bringing that
capability to game developers today. Native Ads benefits users,
advertisers, and developers. From a user experience, it
is a better user experience when the ad looks like it
actually belongs in your game. And advertisers see
stronger, or can see stronger,
performance when it looks like it’s natively styled. And as a developer,
you get to preserve more of the creative
direction of your game when you add ads
into your experience, while gaining the benefits
of the revenue opportunities that ads can provide you. Let’s take a closer
look at what Atari’s up to with “RollerCoaster Tycoon
4” incorporating Native Ads. You can see from here
that it fits very well within the visual
style of the game and shows you how you can easily
integrate it into, for example, user interfaces. So again, it looks
like it belongs. Native Ads can take
the form of an app install or promoting
new content. And it pulls from our
network of over a million Google advertisers. Your game simply just gets
the metadata for the ad. This is the headline, the app
icon, even the store rating. And you decide how to
render it in your game, using Google Guidelines. And this is available
for Android and iOS. It’s in limited beta
right now, but it’s one that we’re excited
to expand in 2015. Let me switch over to talking
about the living room. The message today
is your Android game is really not all that
far from making it into living rooms today. We launched Android TV at
Google I/O in June of last year, bringing Android into the
living room for big screen apps, games, and content. It’s controlled easily
through voice and remote, and as a platform, it’s going
to come in a variety of flavors. You’re going to see it on
smart TVs, microconsoles, and set-top boxes. This year, we’re really excited
about the ecosystem that’s growing, and OEMs are bringing
those different form factors to the world that all
use the same operating system and experience. And that alone is
a unique phenomenon when you think about the
history of the living room. And a lot of partners
are going all in. Sony, for example, is committing
all of their compatible 2015 smart TVs to Android TV. And these pay TV
operators that you see here are switching
their entire platform to set-top boxes using
Android TV, as well. Bringing your game to Android
TV is very straightforward. And in most cases, it’s going to
be a purely incremental effort from a development standpoint. Because it’s stock Android,
using the same services as mobile and tablet, you’re going
to be able to bring all of that over with a lean back experience
and get the same APIs. The Play Store continues
to be the distribution point of record. So you have a familiar
distribution and promotion capability there, with all of
the functionality that you’ve come to expect from us. And lastly, from a
standards point of view, we have user experience
guidelines for apps and games, to develop a higher
quality ecosystem, but also hardware accessory standards
for accessories like gamepads. All of these combine for
a fantastic living room experience, and we can’t
wait to see the growth and what you bring
to Android TV. But we also have a
goal of actually making the gaming experience more
dynamic in the living room. This is especially
in a world where, from my own personal point
of view– local multiplayer and second screen experiences. And so today, we’re
announcing something that we call the
Nearby Connections API. With this new protocol,
games can seamlessly connect smartphones
and tablets to games on the TV in front of them. The protocol simply
allows the instances of games running on
phones, tablets, and TVs to find each other on
the same Wi-Fi network. We then create a peer-to-peer
network between them, and you can communicate
between those devices. And this allows you to create
truly amazing local multiplayer and second screen devices with
devices sitting in your pocket. But seeing is believing. We worked with Vector Unit,
who’s a local developer here, with the creators of
“Beach Buggy Racing.” It’s a kart racing game you
can actually play on Android TV today. Let’s turn it over to
the team, to tell you about what they’ve been
up to with “Beach Buggy.” [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -Hi, Greg. Hi, GDC attendees. You’re looking great today. So I’m here with Ben from the
Google Play games services team, and we’re going to
be playing a multiplayer game of “Beach Buggy Racing.” But we only have one controller
and a whole bunch Android phones. So Ben, how are we
going to make this work? -So fortunately, the developer
of “Beach Buggy Racing,” Vector Unit, has
implemented something called a Nearby Connections API. That allows us to connect our
Android devices to the Android TV and use them as controllers. And it’s broadcasting a signal
behind the scenes, saying, hey, all the phones nearby,
I’m available to connect. And now the race begins. -So I noticed now that
we’ve started playing, your phone has changed. What’s going on here? -As my hands tilt
back and forth, you can tell that
an accelerometer now is being used to drive, but
more importantly, there’s a couple of really
unique things that are going on that I can do
now with an Android device as a controller that
are difficult to do with a standard controller. And so the first thing is
there’s these extra annotations on the screen here. Like in the upper
right-hand corner, you can see I have
this nitrous booster icon, which I can press. Then on the left-hand side,
I’ve got my special powers. We’ve got some brake
pads down at the bottom so I can take these
corners a little better. And of course, there’s some
animated dials in the middle, indicating how fast I’m going. -Woo! -Let’s play again. -All right. We’re going to do
a rematch here. Greg, we’re going to
let you take over. Bye, Moscone. -Ciao. [END PLAYBACK] GREG HARTRELL: We
can’t wait to see how these experiences will unfold. I want to show you another quick
video from the developers who make a game called “Lyricle.”
“Lyricle” is a game that allows you to compete against
friends, based on how well you know song lyrics. And they’re going to be updating
their game later this year, to support Android TV. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] GREG HARTRELL: Both of those
games look really exciting. I can’t wait to play
them. “Beach Buggy Racing” and “Lyricle” are
launching later this year, supporting Nearby Connections. The Nearby Connections API
launches in the next few weeks through Android on an update
to Google Play Services. Let me close out
talking about some of the new gaming experiences
that we’re trying to foster. One of the platforms we
announced at Google I/O last year was the
Cardboard platform. And its vision is
fairly simple– making virtual reality
accessible to everyone, and the immersive experiences
that come with them. Cardboard enables the broadest
reach of any VR platform today, and its momentum is
actually pretty amazing. We announced in December that
they shipped 500,000 devices, and it’s been growing
quickly since then. And early access
developers have created over 250 apps and games,
which you can search for on the Play Store today. But we’re also excited
about a new generation of headsets that are emerging. These are just two
examples of new headsets that work with Google Cardboard. This means your games,
designed for Cardboard, will work on these
devices as well. Mattel announced
a new View-Master that supports Google
Cardboard, and LG is shipping a headset with
every one of their 3G phones. Quick show of hands
in the audience– who grew up with a View-Master? I’m also here to tell you today
that your childhood was awesome and that we’re excited to
see the hardware vendor ecosystem grow up
around Cardboard and bring these immersive
experiences to everyone. You can learn more about
Cardboard later in our code labs today, or you can go
to the link on the screen, g.co/cardboard, and learn more. Let me talk about Project Tango,
which is in developer preview right now. This is a project from our
advanced technology group that’s attempting
to give devices an understanding of
space and motion. So when you think about it,
you can walk into this room, and you have an understanding
of the walls around you, the chairs, the people. And that’s how you
negotiate around the room. We want to give devices a
similar kind of understanding. And so Project Tango does this
by adding another wide camera lens to a device, a
depth-sensing camera, and a software stack that
gives you access to all of that through your app. There’s a lot of really
interesting experiences that have been created from the
2,000 developer preview devices that we shipped
already– 300 apps that have been created over
developers from 30 countries. I want to show you a quick
video from Left Field Labs. It’s an example of a 3D
drawing application, where you use the Tango to
draw things in the space in the room around you. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] GREG HARTRELL: That looks
like a pretty cool experience. The ambient electronic music
doesn’t ship with Tango. And finally, let’s talk
about Android Auto and Games. No, I’m kidding. Just don’t do that. Playing games and
driving is a bad idea. [LAUGHTER] We might be able to fix
that one day, though. All right. Thank you for your
time and opening up. I want to let you know
that we’re hiring. Come to our code
labs later today. And let me turn it back over
to [? Kirb. ?] Thank you. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Only registered users can comment.

  1. You have force developers to use your a unified controller and force all games to be controller compatible that will make your Android Tv a more suitable for gaming

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