Google Player Analytics Provides Android Developers Gaming Insight

Developers hoping to get more from their games may want to turn to Play Games Player Analytics, a set of reports that allows developers to gauge their players' experience as well as manage the business behind their games. The free tools are part of the Google Play Developer Console.

Google announced the Player Analytics reports at the Games Developer Conference several weeks ago. "Analytics is a key component of running a game as a service, which is increasingly becoming a necessity for running a successful mobile gaming business," said Google.

While larger developers may have their own analytics tools in hand, the free reports from Google should let smaller developers fine-tune their operations. Google believes it is vital for game-makers to run their business in order to meet revenue targets. To do that, developers have to understand how players are progressing, spending and churning, as well as see "hot spots" in their business so they can adjust their games in the most effective ways possible. Player Analytics makes such tools available to all developers at no cost.

Google suggests Player Analytics is best paired with Google Play Game Services, which delivers all the benefits of Player Analytics with zero extra effort required. However, Google recommends that developers looking for the deepest insights integrate with Google Play Game Services Events to see much more detailed reports of how games perform throughout their life cycle. If you're already working with Game Services, your reports are already available from the Google Play Developer Console. If not, enabling Player Analytics requires just a handful of lines of code.

A good way to reach your income goals is to check the Target vs. Actual report within Player Analytics. It lets developers check daily in-app purchases and see how they compare to your own targets. Not hitting them? Player Analytics can help you figure out why. Using the hot spots benchmarking tool, developers can gain insight on how their games perform compared to competing games in the same category. The easy-to-read reports show when metrics are trending up or down and offer links to more detailed explanations.

Some of the key metrics to assess, says Google, are player retention and player progression. The Retention Report lets developers see how often their games are played in the seven days after they are installed. More importantly, the Player Progression report lets game developers see where players are running into roadblocks and/or reaching achievements. If players are struggling, they may leave the game. Knowing how to refine the game to retain players could be key in making financial goals for the game.

Last, the Sources and Sinks report lets developers balance their in-game economy to see how fast players are earning/purchasing resources. Integration with Play Game Services Events is mandatory to gain access to this particular report.

Bottom line? Google is here to help. After all, if your game makes money, so does Google.

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.