Google’s annual developer conference – I/O 2016; generated plenty of buzz in the news with a few big announcements and interesting developments worth knowing about. A lot was revealed about Google Home, Google Assistant, Allo & Duo, and more.
We have summarized the most important announcements for mobile game developers with tips about what you should consider doing in order to take advantage of everything Google has to offer.
1. Games Promotion: Universal App Campaigns for iOS and New Ad Placements
Google announced it has driven more than 2 billion app installs from ads. The number more than doubled since last year, placing Google neck and neck with Facebook, which reported the same number of app installs at its F8 developer conference.
Universal App Campaigns, which have been available to run ads only on Android, are now expanding to iOS. It’s a great opportunity for iOS game developers to reach players on YouTube, Google Search, and GDN.
In addition, Google will extend Universal App Campaigns to Gmail with new ad placements at the top of the Promotions tab in the mobile Gmail app.
2. Android N: Performance, Productivity, Security
The new version of the OS that still has no name, features useful improvements and new developments including:
- JIT compiler to improve software performance, accelerate app installs, and take up less storage
- Vulkan, a new generation graphics 3D rendering API to help game developers deliver high performance graphics on mobile devices
- VR mode in Android: Android N is built to provide high quality mobile VR experience across the Android ecosystem.
3. Deeper Dive into Virtual Reality – Daydream
As anticipated by many of us, Google did not reveal a standalone headset; instead, it introduced a new VR platform, represented by both the hardware (more advanced version of the earlier Cardboard set, that has 50 million app installs) and software; a headset with a remote controller. Developers can take advantage of a Labs program to help them create VR content. There’s also a new marketplace for in VR mode for VR games and apps.
Daydream is already supported by Epic that is bringing Unreal Engine 4 to support the platform.
And while it’s not going to launch until Fall, developers can start developing for Daydream starting today.
4. Chromebooks will Welcome Android Apps
According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, in Q1 2016 Chromebook shipments overtook Macs in the U.S. This makes Chrome OS the 2nd most popular PC operating system.
During the conference, Google announced that they are adding Android apps to Chromebooks, which means more players can install games they know and love on many new Chrome devices.
With the mobile-first focus, you can still expand your app’s reach to a wider audience while maximizing the Google Play ecosystem.
5. Apps on the Fly – No Need to Download
The Android Instant Apps feature is seen as a big game changer for the way mobile apps (and Web) work since the App Store. Making it easier to access, consume, and test; Google is definitely making it a better user experience.
But what about app developers? Will it help app discovery?
It’s still too early to tell. And while the majority of apps will still be discovered in “traditional ways” (word of mouth, search, app store, or performance marketing), Instant Apps may simplify the conversion process, allowing more players to interact with your game (and hopefully install it) – once they have discovered it.
It’s not a secret that apps may lose anywhere between 20-80% of potential users who land on the App Store page. With Instant Apps, they can quickly preview your game (screenshots and videos can’t beat the real interaction) before they make a decision to install it. For your users with a 16GB iPhone, this can be truly beneficial.
6. Firebase Analytics
18 months ago, Firebase joined Google. And now, it expands to become a unified app platform for Android, iOS, and mobile web development.
Going beyond mobile backend, it now features Firebase Analytics (a free tool inspired by Google Analytics), that helps you attain insights into what your players are doing in your game. It is supported by extended backend services such as Firebase Cloud Messaging (for push messaging), Firebase Storage (to keep large files in one, easy accessible location) and Firebase Remote Config (instantly updated variables without a need to publish a new version).
- Be among the first to test Google’s new ad products for your games to reach more high-value players before it becomes available to everyone.
DAU-UP is offering its clients the opportunity to be among the first to try this feature and help them grow iOS versions of their games. Contact us for more details.
- There’s great potential to reach more players as Daydream democratizes mobile VR by any company to release a compatible phone for the platform (unlike Gear VR that supports only Samsung phones).
- Take opportunity of a new hardware platform and its audience by optimizing your app and start testing it already in June (the feature will be available first on Asus Chromebook Flip, Chromebook (Pixel), and Acer Chromebook. Please see detailed instructions about how to get started.
- Build your game as modularly as possible to help Google Play download only the parts that are needed on the fly. Check out the Android Developers website to learn more.