March 25, 2020
After the cancellation of the Game Developers Conference, Google went online to release information about its cloud infrastructure, Google Play and Stadia cloud gaming services. Stadia head of product John Justice reported that Google Ads campaigns have thus far resulted in 27 billion game installs, that mobile gaming is “on track” to reach $100 billion in 2021, and that Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East and North Africa will drive mobile game growth going forward. There are 2 billion daily active users on Android.
VentureBeat reports that, according to Greg Hartrell, head of product management for games on Android and Google Play, “Android has 2.5 billion month[ly] active devices.” Google Play, meanwhile, “provides payments in 67 countries, with 270 local forms of payment, and 182 carrier billing options … [and] sells gift cards in 900,000 retail locations.”
In 2019, VB reports, “Google Play saw 1.4 trillion minutes played per month.” The company’s indie game accelerator received 1,700 applications from 37 countries last year. To deal with the fragmented Android ecosystem, Google debuted Android Studio 4.1 Canary version to help developers “better understand how the code is being executed across the operating system versions.”
Google is providing “Android game development extensions for Microsoft’s Visual Studio … and is working with Microsoft’s Azure Playfab live operations,” as well as working with Crytek to extend the CryEngine this summer to Android’s ecosystem.
Google “introduced open bidding for in-app purchase ads, which contrasts with waterfall bidding … [where] a game will query an ad network and check to see at what price it will pay at that given moment to supply an ad to a particular player.” Instead, “with open bidding, the bids happen all at once, and the highest bidder provides the ad.”
Google Play Pass, the company’s “answer to Apple Arcade,” costs $4.99 per month and “reaches hundreds of millions of players.” Google Play Points have been available in the U.S., Japan and South Korea — Taiwan and Hong Kong will be added — and, “to date, 6.6 billion points have been redeemed.” Google is “trying to make games easier to discover, through features in the Google Play Store such as Instant Play, where a playable demo is immediately available for someone browsing the store.”
Google has 22 regions for its Google Cloud infrastructure — where virtual machines run at 3.8 gigahertz — with “three more regions coming.” “Apex Legends,” published by Electronic Arts, “used Google Cloud to handle … one million players in eight hours and 50 million within a month … [and] Activision Blizzard recently announced a partnership with Google Cloud to service their games.”
Stadia’s head of creative Erin Hoffman-John reported that, “developers have shipped more than 30 games and launched more than 60 updates for those games,” and that “120 games are coming for Stadia in 2020.” EA, Ubisoft, Robot Entertainment are “in active development” on hundreds of titles, and Stadia is “also launching Stadia Makers, a self-publishing program for experienced game developers.”
Google Cloud Launches Game Servers, a Managed Cloud Backend for Games, TechCrunch, 3/23/20