Google pushes new program to give big Play Store game developers additional tools

At the Games Developer Summit this morning, Google launched a new Google Play Partner Program for Games program that provides additional tools for some of the largest developers and studios on Google Play. The program’s goal is to develop annual game consumer spending in excess of $5 million.

Benefits of the program include enhanced business support from Google Play and faster releases through a priority release queue. It also includes pre-release tools such as pre-registration tests, access codes, and store listing experiments for pre-registration events.

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The program comes with additional security protections, including automatic approval of Play Integrity API usage. It also includes invitations to early access programs and more. The company did not provide specific information on which Google Play game developers will get the new program.

Google also announced that the Play Store’s “ Play as you download ” feature will soon be available to all Android 12 users. “Play as you download” allows users to quickly jump into the game after a small download while fetching remaining game assets in the background.

To do this, Google Play analyzes crowdsourced first-game experience filesystem access patterns and automatically identifies assets that need to be optimized. The feature was first introduced as part of a beta program last year. Google did not provide additional information on the launch date.

The company also revealed that it began rolling out Google Play Games for PC Beta in select markets in January. Google says the standalone Windows PC application allows users to play a “high-quality catalog” of Google games. Gaming on tablets, foldable and Chromebooks is on the rise, the company said, and it saw Android app usage on Chromebooks jump 50% year over year, mostly driven by gaming.

Google has also updated the Android Game Development extension to allow debugging between Android Studio, the integrated development software for the Android operating system, and Visual Studio, Microsoft’s integrated development platform. In addition, the company has added a new Memory Advice API to help developers understand and determine how far the device is from low memory lethality. Google also rolled out its Android GPU Inspector Frame Profiler across the board to help developers achieve better frame rates and battery life.

The company also revealed that it recently rolled out strategic guidance in the console, which provides an intuitive way to help developers assess how well their games are monetized and find opportunities to increase revenue. For context, the Google Console is the platform Google Play and Android developers use to publish and monitor the performance of their apps.

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