Google Debuts Game Developer Tools for Android, PC, Cloud

Google this week announced a host of new features at the Google for Games Developer Summit, a free virtual event designed to help developers get the most out of its platforms. Developers that have more than $5 million in annual consumer games spending will be able to tap a new Google Play Partner Program for Games. A “play as you download” feature for Android 12 users will let itchy-fingered players get to gaming sooner, and an “immersive stream” for games will let developers leverage cloud gaming service Stadia’s underlying technology.

In an event recap, Google for Games marketing chief Chris Luhur said the company now has more than 3 billion global players across platforms. Gameplay across tablets and foldables is on the rise, the company says, with Android usage on Chromebooks up 50 percent last year, “led by games.”

Among the noteworthy developments, Immersive Stream for Games lets developers build a direct-to-consumer business. Developed by the Stadia team in partnership with Google Cloud, Immersive Stream for Games “combines advanced streaming technology with cheaper and easier game porting, powerful discovery features and analytics” suitable for creating game trials, complete games, subscription bundles “or even power an entire storefront,” the company says.

“In partnership with Google Cloud, we’re working to build out the underlying cloud gaming technology that powers both Stadia and our customers’ offerings via Immersive Stream for Games,” Stadia head of product Dov Zimring told TechCrunch.

Other highlights include:

  • Clean Chat is a new open source AI framework that allows studios to “proactively detect” and deal with offensive speech in both text and voice chat in order to maintain safe and inclusive gaming experiences through Google Cloud.
  • Ad Features for Games help advertisers improve target return on ad spend (tROAS) performance with App campaigns by integrating AdMob and third-party ad revenue data into Google Analytics for bid optimization.
  • Updated Android Game Development Kit aims to simplify the process for developers of all sizes with new data insights in Play Console and a beta version of the standalone app Google Play Games for PC that “allows users to play a ‘high quality catalog’ of Google Play games,” according to TechCrunch.
  • Play As You Download rolled out in beta last year and will soon open up to all Android 12 users, allowing them “to get into gameplay in seconds while game assets are downloaded in the background” with minimal developer changes to the underlying implementation, Android and Google Play product director Greg Hartrell wrote on a company blog that details features including the Google Play Partner Program.
  • Memory Advice API library was added in beta to the Android Game Developer Kit to help developers cope with memory consumption by combining the best signals for a given device to determine how close the device is to a low memory kill.

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