Google Unveils New Game Developer Tools at GDC Dev Day

Today, Google announced a number of new tools for game developers at its annual Dev Day event at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Below is an outline of the new tools announced today:

Player Analytics

Mobile gaming is an ultra-competitive market, and companies in the space are intently focused on optimizing their games to maximize revenue and minimize churn. 

In an effort to help game developers, in the coming weeks, Google will add new analytics reports to the Google Play Developer Console. Using Player Analytics, developers will have access to a variety of metrics, including average revenue per paying user and sessions per user. By tracking these metrics, developers can more easily track player progress, spend, and churn.

In addition, Player Analytics can help developers set daily revenue targets. According to Google, participants in the Player Analytics beta have experienced significant revenue gains. For instance, BombSquad, a game studio in San Francisco, more than doubled its Google Play revenue per user by using Player Analytics to identify improvements to its games.

Nearby Connections API for Android TV

Google is committed to an every-screen strategy for Android, and last year launched Android TV based on the Android Lollipop OS. OEM partners manufacturing Android televisions and set-top boxes include Sony, Philips, Sharp, and Razer.

Gaming applications are a big part of Google’s focus with Android TV, and in an effort to make the Android gaming experience more dynamic, Google has launched a Nearby Connections API that makes it possible for games to “seamlessly connect smartphones and tablets as second-screen controls to the game running on your TV”, said Greg Hartrell, Senior Product Manager of Google Play Games, in a recent blog post.

To demonstrate what is possible with the Nearby Connections API, Google has published a video demonstrating a multi-player match of the popular Vector Unit game, Beach Buggy Racing. The Nearby Connections API will be officially available in the next update of Google Play services. In the meantime, Google is also using this year’s Dev Day to encourage game developers to explore its Cardboard virtual reality SDKs, which were released last year.

New Advertising Options in AdMob

AdMob, which Google acquired in 2010, is one of the largest mobile ad providers in the world and with mobile taking over the world, the search giant is constantly looking to improve and expand its mobile ad offerings. At GDC, Google unveiled Native Ads, which enable game developers to display in-game ads that match the look and feel of their games. Participants in the Native Ads limited beta include Atari.

In the coming weeks, Google will also roll out In-App Purchase House Ads, which allows game developers to not only tap into AdMob’s predictive analytics to identify users who are likely to make in-app purchases but also to serve ads promoting items available for in-app purchase.

Finally, Google is showing off Audience Builder, a tool that gives game developers the ability to segment their audiences and create customized experiences for those segments in an effort to maximize revenue.

Be sure to read the next Games article: ArenaNet Announces Guild Wars 2 APIs and App Development Contest