Google for Games Developer Summit Keynote

Google for Games Developer Summit Keynote


♪ (electronic music) ♪ (John) Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to Google
for Games Developer Summit. I’m John and I oversee
Product at Stadia. We’ve got a lot of
exciting news to share from across Google’s products and we were eager
to share them at GDC. Now it was a hard call,
but we support the GDC organizers for making the right one
by postponing the conference to protect this global community. Times like these come with
big sacrifices for your teams, especially the many of you
who are independent developers. That’s why we’re partnering
with Wings and contributing
to the GDC relief fund to lessen the financial impact
on those of you who needed the resources from GDC to continue building
your great games. Even though we can’t meet
in person today, we’re still excited
to meet digitally and share several
new announcements here at our Google
for Games Developer Summit. But let’s start by taking a step back. I want to talk about how you,
as game developers have introducedhugeshifts over the last decade in gaming tech,
marketing and user experience. Take for instance how
mobile gaming has transformed the way people access entertainment
and connect with others. More players around the world
are able to enjoy games anywhere with anyone
than ever before. What was once a small fraction
of the industry is now on track to become a $100 billion
segment in 2021 with more developers succeeding
than ever before. Here at Google, we’ve been a leader
in supporting the mobile ecosystem we know today through platforms
like Android and Google Play, creating one of the largest gaming
communities in the world with billions of players. These players are a part of an increasingly global
and diverse gaming audience. Thanks to the continuing expansion
of internet access, this year, players in
South East Asia, India, the Middle East and North Africa will drive the majority
of growth in mobile. This global audience means more players
to experience your game. But every group of players
has specialized preferences that you’ll need to consider
to reach them. At Google, our Ads products
have helped you make your games more discoverable
and tailor your experiences to a unique player preferences. When someone finds and downloads
the awesome game your team spent
countless hours creating, this means more delight
for your players and more opportunities for you
to continue investing in your business. And the numbers show that
this is working. To date, game developers of all sizes
have generated over 27 billion installs with the help of Google Ads
app campaigns and for players, that means accessing games they enjoy
has never been easier. Finding the right players
for your game, it’s only the first step to building
a loyal fan base. The definition of community
has shifted beyond just what’s happening
inside your game. Today your communities are
also watching and creating content. Both have become just
as important as playing. And engaging a global audience
to grow your community at scale it’s easier on a platform that reaches
2 billion users every day. With more than 200 million people
tuning into gaming content every day racking at more than
50 billion hours of gaming watch time per year, YouTube is a platform for your players
to discover your games and connect with fellow fans
through content on-demand, live streaming and Esports. These communities are also shifting
towards openness and cross-platform. Today, players have higher
expectations than ever when it comes to connecting
through global games. They constantly expect more
immersive gameplay experiences that connect them with like-minded fans
from around the world. The Cloud can help you create and deliver these experiences
for your communities through multi-player gameplay,
better matchmaking, live chat and more. But scaling and managing
infrastructure, it can be complex. With Google Cloud, our manage services and strong support for open-source
reduce that complexity, giving you the freedom of choice. while also allowing you to focus
on core elements in producing amazing
game experiences. This means smaller developers
are increasingly empowered. Once your game is a hit,
it can easily scale to millions of players. The industry continues to grow
and more players want access to high quality immersive games
on demand. These days it can be harder to justify
investing and creating these types of incredible games because getting discovered
in the first place is challenging enough as it is. Your visions need a home on a platform
with a broad player base that will not only allow players
to find your game, but to truly experience
something awesome. This is what makes today’s demand
a prime opportunity for you to attract a broader audience, and these new and ambitious productions that’ll require an upfront investment, a wide ranging platform,
and then close partnerships. When we launch Stadia last year, our goal was to give
players a platform to play great games with anyone,
anywhere, anytime. By partnering with you,
we strive to empower you to produce the next
generation of games. The shifts we just talked about
are presenting exciting opportunities. But they can be a lot to consider
in addition to all the other things you’re already thinking
about for your game. Making the most
of these opportunities, it’ll require constantly updating
real-time strategy, a lot of effort and a partner that’s building
for the future. You’ll find that partner in Google. We pride ourselves
in empowering you and the rest of
the developer community with our innovations and our scale. We’ve been partnering with you
since the early days and together, we’re excited
to keep creating what’s next. In this next hour, you’ll hear
announcements addressing how we here at Google
are tackling some of your biggest challenges and we’re setting you up for success
in the years to come. To get started with Android
and Google Play, I’ll now hand it off to Greg
to share the latest. (Greg) Thanks, John. Hi, I’m Greg Hartrell,
the head of product management for games on Android
and Google Play. I’m excited to take you through
this next portion of our keynote. We’ll go through an ecosystem update
for Android and Google Play and share some exciting
announcements that will help you reach
more devices and grow your player base. Let’s start with some highlights
on the ecosystem in the last year. Android continues
to be a vibrant ecosystem, with Google Play at its heart. Android is the world’s most popular
mobile operating system with 2.5 billion monthly
active devices worldwide. Moreover, Play sees more than 2 billion
monthly active users who all find great games, apps,
and content for their Android devices. We also think deeply
about how our platforms can make you more successful. Being global and our payment’s ecosystem
are a big part of this. Google Play provides
forms of payment in more than 67 countries. And we offer more
than 270 local forms of payment, more than 182 carrier billing options, and we sell gift cards in over 900,000
unique retail locations worldwide. What’s been incredible
about mobile gaming is how it has enabled people
of all kinds to play games. The diversity of games
in our ecosystem has allowed almost anyone
in the world to consider themselves a gamer. And more people are playing
video games as a result. In fact, in 2019, we saw an amazing
1.4 trillion minutes played per month. With countries like Brazil,
India and Indonesia among the fastest growing places
for playing mobile games. Another reason for
this incredible growth is the diverse and innovative games coming from developers like you. The innovation for mobile gaming
has created some amazing genre mashups and new, unique types of gameplay. The increasing diversity
is also observed in the people creating
these games and across the countries
where they reside. Our Indie Game Accelerator program is an example of where
we’re helping in this area. This program helps top
indie game startups from emerging markets
find success on Google Play. Last year, we had over
1,700 applications from developers across 37 countries from Asia to Latin America
and the Middle East. Our graduating class received
mentorship and bootcamp resources, Cloud and Firebase credits
and an opportunity to be showcased on Google Play. Congratulations once again
to the class of 2019, and we’re looking forward
to applications for 2020. Another program in 2019
is the Change The Game Design Challenge, an initiative to increase inclusiveness
in mobile game development. Here, our aim was to inspire
team game creators to share their game idea for a chance
to win a $15,000 college scholarship and a $15,000 technology donation
to their school or community center. Partnering with Girls Make Games,
we helped five winners produce, develop and launch
their original game designs on Google Play. For example, take the game, Brightlove,
where the main storyline was to encourage players
to be kind and to take action rather than just being
a mere bystander to the events. We’re looking forward to expanding
this program as well later this year. That all said, it’s important to us
that our platforms are highly useful to every kind of game developer. Across Android and Google Play,
our mission is to deliver the best platform to build,
discover and experience games. We also know there are still
a lot of challenges and opportunities and we can think about them
in two ways. The first is building and increasing
your game’s reach. The sheer scale of Android shows
it’s still hard to build a game on the platform and manage the fragmentation
of this ecosystem. Then there’s accessing
a wider player base. Once you’ve made a great game,
you need to have strong strategies for getting your game discovered
and building the hype for your launches and updates. We said last year we’d come back
with more in these areas and now we have some awesome things
to share with you. Let’s start with how we’re making it
easier to build and increase the device reach of your game. We spent a lot of time thinking
about how to make it easier to build and optimize games for Android. We heard from you that
we needed to offer better tools for building and profiling games. So this area kicks off
with updated tools available in today’s Android Studio 4.1 Canary. Our Android Studio system trace tool
is now overhauled to be more intuitive so you can better understand
the granular timing of how your code is being executed
across the operating system. We also added native memory
profiling capabilities so you can better understand
how your game is allocating memory and find memory leaks in your games. We’ve also heard your feedback that optimizing graphics
on Android is difficult. The GPU on Android
is often a black box and it’s hard to navigate different
GPU vendor tools to gain the insights you need. To solve this, today, we’re announcing
a developer preview of the new Android GPU Inspector. This single profiling tool works across
both Qualcomm and Arm GPUs and provides insights into how
your game is using GPU resources and help identify areas
for optimization. Using specialized drivers, you can profile graphics
performance bottlenecks through details provided
by GPU hardware counters and GPU activity information. All of this empowers graphic engineers
with insights to help optimize a game for better frame rates
and more battery life. So your players can experience
smoother gameplay on more devices. You can sign up for the preview
in the link that you see here. We also know there are several IDEs
to choose from when making a game for Android. Visual Studio remains one
of the most popular IDEs and for those of you building
your games in C++, we heard that your workflows
had some pretty complicated setups. So today, we’re announcing
the Android game development extension for use in Visual Studio. With this extension, it’s now easy
to add Android Support for your cross-platform games, integrating easily with existing
Visual Studio based workflows. So now, you can generate APKs, deploy to Android devices
or an emulator and debug your Android game
from within Visual Studio. You can sign up forthatpreview
at the link that you see here. Let’s switch to another theme. Helping you reach more
Android devices with higher quality experiences has come up in a lot of your feedback. Today, we’re introducing a new set
of delivery features for games called, “Play Asset Delivery.” It builds on our app
bundle infrastructure to give you free dynamic delivery
of the right game assets to the right devices at the right time. Play Asset Delivery allows you
to chunk up your game resources into asset packs, delivered
through a few smart flexible modes, either as part of the initial install,
shortly after install or on-demand during gameplay. It even supports texture compression
format targeting to get the most optimal assets
onto the right devices. And manages updates and patching
of all your asset packs. All of this means your players
can get into your game sooner while the assets
are being downloaded. And you can also lower
the cost of hosting and delivering your game resources. Play Asset Delivery is available today
to all Play developers with support for native code
and popular game engines. You can learn more about it
at the link you see here and in the recorded session,
that will be unlocked in our playlist at the end of this keynote. Android vitals is another key tool
as a destination to understand the technical quality of your game. To help you get high stability
in performance on more devices, we’re introducing
two new capabilities. The first is supporting
native-crash-symbolication. So now you can debug
game stability issues more easily and crash in ANR’s reporting
in the Android vitals. The second is our developer preview
of Android Performance Tuner, a new SDK in service that helps you
understand and improve frame rate performance
across all Android devices worldwide. We know that it can be complex
to properly tune your game to run at the most optimal fidelity
on a range of Android devices. Integrating Android Performance Tuner
in your game unlocks new metrics in Android vitals that show
your game’s frame rate performance and issues across
different Android device models. Performance Tuner
also helps determine your game’s best quality level
for each device. So frame rates can run smoother. For example, you could find aspects
of your game that creates sub-optimal performance
on certain devices and choose to avoid
rendering certain objects, like in-game vegetation, or turn off graphic effects
like for reflection to smooth out your frame rates. A better tuned game will minimize
the number of users experiencing poor performance
and avoid negative reviews. Android Performance Tuner
is an invite-only beta starting today and you can fill out the application
at the link that you see here. You can also learn more about it
watching our recorded talk called “Deliver High Quality Games
On More Devices” which will be available in our playlist
below after the keynote. We all know the game engines
are an important part of the ecosystem. So we’re excited that
game engine options for Android developers
continue to grow. This year, Crytek is empowering
developers even more by adding a full Android pipeline to CRYENGINE
available this summer. Known for being a high performance
game engine for PCs and game consoles, CRYENGINE stands to help you
push the boundaries of graphics and display hardware on all platforms
including Android. You can learn more about
Crytek’s plans by going tocryengine.com/androidand signing up for the beta. In the meantime, please join us
in welcoming CRYENGINE to the Android ecosystem. Another important
game engine is Unity. Over the years, Google teams
have created a lot of Unity plug-ins, and we saw that it was becoming
unmanageable for many of you to pull together all of the services
Google has to offer into one place. So today, we’re announcing
the game package registry for Unity by Google. Supporting Unity 2018.4 and above,
our goal is to give you a single package registry
for all of Google’s APIs. With this announcement,
you’ll get Google Play billing, Android app bundles,
Play Asset Delivery, Play Instant and Firebase
for games all in one place with more API support on the way. You can download
the package registry today using the link that you see here. Once you’ve made a great game, then you need to tell
everybody about it and help make it
a commercial success. For Google Play, we think a lot
about how to make game discovery easier and give you more tools
so your go-to markets plans can grow your player base. Our work here is paying off. as Google Play has continued to grow. Last year we saw 116 billion downloads of apps and games that you created,
distributed to devices in every country on the planet. This has been incredible growth
and we’re excited to keep innovating to make this even better. Last year, we lamented a storefront
that leads with icons. When you look at the user experience
of discovering games and play, what’s going inside of the actual game can be hidden through layers of text
and static images. An icon alone can’t express
the incredible experience your game offers and the information we provide to users
could be far more compelling. So we thought deeply
about the ideal experience. And we were inspired
by real-life video game arcades. As you walk through a real-life arcade,
you can easily see all the gameplay, cabinet decal marketing, and crowds of people playing
what’s popular. All of these elements combine
to evoke the soul of a game in each of us before
you decide to play it and we wanted to use these concepts
to make the Playstore an amazing game discovery experience. So we’ve completed an extensive
visual refresh from top to bottom to help the Playstore game section
be more exciting and gameplay-centric. Our game section is now
the sole destination to find games with top charts, categories
and collections of games that are more tailored for you,
based on the games you and our community play. Moreover, you will see screenshots
and auto-playing videos of gameplay when pausing over
rich clusters of games so you can better see
what a game is about before you tap an install button. And it’s not just about
a good user experience. All of these changes have drastically
increased the traffic and engagement of the game section,
helping users find games they love and leading to more gameplay. In fact, elevating auto-playing videos
and screenshots has shown a 20 to 75% increase in conversion, depending on how well
that content shows the true experience of your game. Having the right content
can really make a difference for how your game gets discovered. And we didn’t stop there. Google’s mission is to organize
the world’s information and make it universally
accessible and useful. This mission also applies
to games on Google Play. It starts with building
a deeper understanding of what a game is about, how to describe what types of games
a player might be into and then better recommending
or showing the right ones to try. We call this the “genomic
discovery of games.” And we think it will
make a big difference in how players will
discover games. Let’s take puzzle games
as an example. While lots of people
play puzzle games, grouping them all
into one category doesn’t do justice
to all the types of puzzles a user could be into. In the game industry,
we know that these games have erratically different
mechanics and dynamics. Match 3 puzzle games
are very different from brain teasers or physics-based puzzles
or an escape room simulator. But an elderly parent
or school-aged child might not know these labels and they will struggle to find
more games they like without knowing how to describe
the gameplay they enjoy. With the data from genomic
discovery applied to a broad spectrum
of the Game catalog, we’re rolling out new ways to browse,
search, filter and recommend games based on these granular attributes. You’ll see more information
about sub-genres, game aesthetics, the multi-player mode and even what kind of connectivity
a game requires. So for example, a player will eventually
be able to filter down all offline physics-based puzzle games now that they know
that their favorite puzzle games are known as physics-based. We’re continuously improving this too. We crowdsourced these labels
through those that you suggest through the Play console and further researched
and curated them by our team through the Play Store. As we deepen our understanding
of games, we will offer even more ways you can provide us the metadata
you need to describe your game. All of this culminates
in making Google Play a great discovery experience
with our increased focus on quality. In fact, we’ve updated our featuring
and ranking logic to further prioritize high quality games with strong technical performance
and engaging content. We asked everyone to look at ways
to improve your game’s quality. Here are three key areas to focus on. First, have a great
in-game user experience that your players find engaging
and satisfying. Second, ensure your game’s stability
and technical performance are strong such as being free of crashes. And lastly, have an effective
Store listing page, including the gameplay
centered videos and screenshots like we showed earlier. You can read the details
of how to take action on quality by following the link
that you see here. And we look forward
to you improving discovery for your game in the Play Store. Let’s also talk about the new services
available to game developers. One long-term bet for us
is Play Pass, which we launched
in the USA last year. At $4.99 a month, users get access to hundreds of awesome
apps and games, completely free of ads
and in-app purchases. We want Android to be a place
where creative indie breakouts and shorter story-based games can be successful
as premium experiences alongside free-to-play titles
and innovative apps. We’ll do that by compensating
developers fairly for the value they provide
Play Pass subscribers, whether it’s a game
that can be finished in a few hours or one you can play
for weeks on end. We’re using many signals
to reward developers and continue to tune the model, curating the best possible
catalog for users. We want to thank hundreds
of developers who joined in the initial offering
as well. Personally, it’s been
a great way for me to discover great titles
and hidden gems alongside some of
the amazing indies we’ve seen in our indie
game contests. It’s still early days and we thank you
for your patience as we scale the program. Google Play Instant has helped drive
millions of game demos and fast loading games sessions
in the Play Store. We saw another opportunity
to open up a new discovery surface for indie and mid-tier game makers
who have more casual experiences. The newly updated Play Games app is now an instant
gameplay destination that attracts millions
of weekly Android users, including a new game
announcement each week. For games that can package themselves
as a Google Play Instant app and incorporate Play Games services, you can apply to publish
to the surface and reach a big casual
game audience. We think it’s a new and fun
gameplay surface that can open up
the top of your funnel. We’re now accepting applications
to participate and be considered for featuring
at the link that you see here. At GDC last year, we announced
that pre-registration was available for all developers on Google Play. And hundreds of millions
of users registered for your upcoming launches last year. Combined with early access
testing tracks, we think a lot about how to make
your launches and updates more successful. Your biggest fans just want
to get into the game on launch day, and that’s why we’re rolling out
day one auto install for all pre-registered games. Players will have the option
to auto-install the game the day that it becomes available
and not just receive a notification. This will just work for games
that have billing permission enabled and it’s best experience for your users who are eagerly awaiting the day
your game becomes available. Let’s touch on Play Billing Library 2.0, which we launched last year
at Google I/O. Updating to this library
gives your games some great new
monetization capabilities. For example, your players can pay
for in-app purchases with cash at participating retail locations,
like convenience stores. Also players can discover and purchase
in-app purchases outside of your game, such as in the Play Store itself. And you can express
in-app purchase discounts and sales information
in the Play checkout experience so it matches your
in-game storefronts. Today, we’re launching a new version
of Play Billing Library 2.0 for Unity developers. It replaces older versions
of the Play IAP store inside of Unity, making it easy to upgrade. We recommendalldevelopers upgrade
to Billing Library 2.0, both to take advantage
of its new features and to prepare for the new Play Billing
version requirements in 2021. You can learn more about this
in the link that you see here. One last announcement. Another big bet we’re making
is on Play Points, a user rewards program
that first launched in Japan in 2018 and in Korea, in the USA last year. Users can earn points
from all of their spending across Google Play. They can also earn points for free
from trying new apps and redeeming weekly rewards. To date, over 6.6 billion points
have been redeemed for special items, discounts,
Google Play credits and donations to support a good cause. Our goal is to both thank users
for their engagement with Play and offer re-engagement
opportunities for your players who spend in your game
through unique promotions. Today, we’re announcing
the expansion of Play Points in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and we’re excited to expand it
even further this year. Today we announced a lot of
new tools and services to help your games reach
more devices and grow your player base
on new surfaces and with new go-to-market tools. A wise man once said,
“It’s dangerous to go alone.” Take this handy link
as the best resource to catch up on everything
we covered today including where to sign up
for all the new betas and developer previews. As a reminder,
at the end of the keynote, we’ll be unlocking
our playlist below with additional recorded talks
that will go even deeper on many of these topics. 2019 was an amazing year
for mobile games, and I’ll just end with thank you for all of the amazing
and innovative games you bring to Android and Google Play. For this year,
we wish you the very best in your creative and gaming pursuits. Now I’ll hand it off to Abhita to share the latest announcements
from Google Ads. (Abhita) Thanks, Greg. Hi everyone! I’m Abhita. I lead development for our app platform
and gaming initiatives. Greg just spoke about how Android
and Google Play tools make it easy to reach and engage
with more players. Next, I’m excited to share how the newest features
from our Ads team will compliment this organic growth and help you create
a strong games business. One of the things we consistently see is that those who build
a strong games business always put players first. In fact, the top game developers
see much higher retention than industry average, suggesting they are creating games
people love to keep playing. The best game developers not only
understand the value of their players, but also their behaviors, and they then use these insights
to build them amazing experiences. Today, I’m going to show you
how the latest innovations from our Ads and Measurement Teams can help you develop
a player-first strategy. We think about building features
for game developers in three ways. First, creating an engaged player base. Second, improving your game
by learning from your players. And third, earning more
from your game. Let’s dive in to see how. Creating an engaged player base not only drives positive
user experiences, it can also help grow
your business revenue. Invested players are likely to spend
more time in your games and hence generate more revenue
for your business long term. The first step to creating
and engaged player base is finding those players
who will love your game. That means reaching the players
who are interested in your game in the moments they’re looking
for something new. Google App Campaigns is our Ads product
that does exactly this. You just define the goals
that matter to you based on whatever audience it is
you’re trying to reach, whether that’s people likely
to install your game or those likely to take action
in your game. Then, Google’s Machine Learning
goes to work and finds more of these players
across Search, YouTube, Play, Discover, and over 3 million sites
and apps in our network. We know that App Campaigns
are driving more value than ever for the developer ecosystem. We have seen over 27 billion installs
from Ads to date, and this is why we’re continuing
to invest in this area and innovate, so you can do even more. Our two latest App Campaigns innovations
are designed to help ensure you can capture
valuable players at launch and deliver more relevant ads
to the right people. Based on Google internal data,
we know that more than half of installs come within the first eight weeks
of an app’s release. To make the most of this window, leading developers
typically test their apps in beta before releasing them publicly. That’s why a year ago we introduced
Open Testing in the Google Play Console. If you’re a player, you can try new games
before they launch. If you’re a developer,
Open Testing enables you to release a test version of your app
to get early feedback from users on metrics like battery life,
app stability, app startup time, and monetization. But you need to have enough users for those early insights
to be meaningful. Very soon you will be able
to use App Campaigns to promote Android apps
in Open Testing, to help you find even more testers. This is how it works. To start, you just set up
your Open Test in the Google Play Console
and then select your app when setting up a new
App Campaign for installs. By driving players to engage
with your game in beta you can see what’s working
and what’s not, and then you can use those insights to help you make meaningful
improvements before the all-important launch. Here’s an example. [Netties] is one of our partners
who took advantage of Open Testing ads in App Campaigns. Open Testing Ads allowed them to reach a large
and representative audience to test their app. Early feedback was not in line
with their expectations. It showed lower purchasing behavior
and LTV than what they were expecting. The team was then able
to use these insights to change the game mechanics. The end result was a 2X increase
in purchases after launch. Besides testing,
early creative insights are also very important
for a successful launch. Whether you’re promoting an Open Test or a game you’ve already launched, you really need your ad creative to strike the right chord
with your audience. Experimenting with creative assets
will soon be easier with App Campaign’s
new reporting features. We’ve heard requests
from a lot of our developers for more actionable
information on creatives, and we think we’ve built the right tools to help you build your campaigns using the right assets, and make improvements
to your ad creatives with more detailed reporting. We have a new tool to help you
with campaign creation. We’re calling it the
“Ads Trend Indicator.” Google’s Machine Learning
performs best when you upload the highest
allowable number of assets. The more assets we have,
the more combinations we can create to build custom creatives
and find you the right users. That’s why we give you options for text, image, video,
and playable assets. Our Ads Trend Indicator will now appear
in your campaign setup workflow and alert you if you’re missing
any assets in your campaign. Once you’ve set up your campaign,
with the optimal set of creatives, our new reporting features
will provide more transparency into how your ad creatives perform
across campaigns and over time. Not only will you be able to see
what an asset’s overall effectiveness is, but you can also
dive deeper and understand how that asset performs in each
specific ad group, where it’s served. You can take action
to replace an asset only where it’s underperforming, while leaving it unchanged
where it’s doing well or still learning. Continuing with the spirit of making
your reports easier to use, we’re also introducing
a Performance Chart. This chart lets you closely track
performance movement for your assets over time and against the metrics
that matter to you, whether that is installs, actions,
conversions, or value. If you have similar assets that
share the same performance ranking, their performance trends
can provide valuable guidance on which you should
double down on, and which you should
take out from rotation. And finally, we’re giving
you more visibility into how your creatives
can look as real ads through our new Creative Preview tool. The Preview will show you sample ads
assembled from your assets, as they might appear across
different app campaign placements. This feature will give you
the confidence that your ads
are going to look their best. We hope that these new features
will give you the control to make more informed decisions
about what to do next with your assets. They will be rolling out this spring. We will continue acting
on your feedback, and you can expect
more improvements in the future. Our goal is to make
our reporting features more helpful, more detailed,
and more actionable, so you have the insights
to make ads that wow your players and encourage them to install
and keep playing your games. Now, insights about the performance
of your ad creatives can help you tune
your acquisition strategy, which helps you build
a strong player base. But in order to build
a strong games business, you need to make sure
your players stay engaged. This is where understanding
how people are playing your games becomes really important. The right insights can help you focus
on the parts of your game players love, improve features that they don’t, and understand how player engagement is contributing
to your overall business goals. Google Analytics allows you
to better understand what’s working well for your players, and where their experience
can be improved. Last year we launched
App + Web properties which is a new property type
in Google Analytics that is cross-device
and cross-platform. This allows you to measure your app
and web data in a single place and do all sorts of custom analysis. And today, for gaming apps,
we’re taking it a step further, and announcing
a new game reporting experience. This new reporting experience
organizes your reports so that the insights which are
most relevant to your games business are surfaced to you first,
saving you time and effort. Here’s a screenshot
of what this looks like. You’ll see a new navigation menu
of acquisition, retention, engagement, and monetization reports
with game-specific metrics like user stickiness and revenue
from in-app purchases and ads. This can help you see how players
move through your game, and then you can use these insights
to improve the game experience and drive more revenue. For example, if you notice
players dropping off after level three, you can make the level easier
or try giving away in-game boosters to help them complete the level
and keep playing. You can also use Google Analytics
to identify an audience of players who’ve stopped playing your game, and easily export it
right back to Google Ads, where you can then use App Campaigns
to reach those players with a tailored message
encouraging them to return. In order to access
this new reporting experience, you’ll need the Firebase SDK
integrated in your app. You can then create an App + Web property
in Google Analytics and add an app stream for your game. A web stream is not required,
but the option is there, if it’s relevant for your business. As you use these insights
to improve your game, you also need to make sure these changes
are paying off for your business. To help you stay on top
of your ads revenue, we’re excited to announce
our new AdMob mobile app. We’re taking key reports like revenue and impression trends
from our AdMob platform, and making them available on mobile so you can easily monitor your earnings even when you are away
from your computer. We also want to make
the data we surface a lot more useful. We have heard from many developers
that it has been a challenge to pinpoint the value
of Ads-monetized users. That’s why, in addition
to ads-based metrics like impressions
and aggregated payments, we’re also introducing
user-based reporting, beginning with our new user
cohort report. This report will give you insights into how the lifetime value
of a particular user cohort changes as they progress
through the player lifecycle, allowing you to start to understand
who your most valuable players are. This report is our first step on the way to developing
actionable user insights, while still protecting
your players’ privacy. A lot of developers have told us
that they’re very excited about how this report will make
their data not only more useful, but also cut down on the work
needed to access it. Uri Danan, from Crazy Labs,
one of the top global game developers, is looking forward
to the launch of this report to save time and overhead
across his company. This new cohort report
will automatically be available in your AdMob account this spring. These player-oriented reports
give you deeper insights on how people are engaging with your game. But to grow your business,
you need to be able to take action, based on what you’ve learned. If you’re monetizing your game with ads, AdMob can help you maximize
the value of every impression by A/B testing your monetization setup. Speaking of monetization setups,
mediation is a tried-and-tested way to help developers maximize revenue
from multiple networks. But we know that it comes
with a lot of challenges: you have to manage multiple SDKs,
multiple reporting and payment systems. Waterfalls can also cause
slow loading times that cause disruption for your players. And most importantly,
because mediation uses historical data, you could be missing out
on potential revenue. That’s why Google is moving
beyond the traditional waterfall model to our in-app bidding solution,
Open Bidding. Rather than using historical data
to prioritize networks, Open Bidding calls all participating
networks at the same time, enabling them to compete equally
in a single real-time auction. For any given impression, the winner
is always the highest-paying network, because all networks
get the same priority, including Google. Open Bidding has the potential
to maximize the value of every impression and bring in more revenue
than waterfall mediation. But in order to be sure,
you would want to compare the performance of
each monetization setup. Today, developers who want
to test a new approach don’t have many options, and we see them using all sorts
of imperfect techniques. One common approach that we see is deploying a change
to the players in one country to see how that group responds
before rolling the change out globally. But player behavior is very different
across different countries. For example, players in Japan
are very different from players in Brazil. This and other such approaches
are easier than setting up a true test, but it’s not a scientifically
rigorous way to gain insights because there are many variables
that can influence your results. To make testing easier
and more reliable, we have built a tool to run A/B tests
right from your AdMob account. Using this tool,
you’ll be able to easily test different ads monetization setups
without updating your app, and then analyze
the test results easily with a dedicated report
in our front end. This is how it works. Once you set up your test,
AdMob will split your traffic to run on your control group
and the variant at the same time. We will analyze and deliver the results so you can decide whether you want
to commit to the changes or keep your original setup
with just one click. Here’s an example. A Dutch game developing company,
called GameHouse, used mediation A/B testing when they were considering
Open Bidding. They set up a test on one app
to compare waterfall mediation to Open Bidding. After running the test for two weeks, they found that Open Bidding
delivered a 12% lift in total revenue. The team now plans to replicate
the same test in two other apps to continue growing their revenue. A/B testing different
monetization setups is a great way to understand
what sort of a revenue uplift you can expect before
committing to a change. This is especially useful
when considering new monetization models
like Open Bidding. Here’s another idea you can test. AdMob provides an automated feature
for ad network optimization called “ANO.” You can set up a test to see
which one earns you more: ANO or inputting CPMs manually. One last note on this tool,
and this is my personal favorite. This tool is built on the same
experiment infrastructure that we use for Google Search and for all of Google’s
internal analysis. That means your tests will be backed by the same stability
and statistical rigor that we expect of all
of Google’s product launches. As you’ve heard,
taking a player-first approach can help you build a thriving business
around your game. You can create an engaged player base
by bringing in more players through open testing ads
in App campaigns and improved asset reporting. Improve your game
by learning from your players with the games report
from Google Analytics and the mobile app
and cohort report from AdMob, and maximize the value
of your player base by finding the right
monetization strategy through A/B testing
your AdMob setup. All of these new Ads tools
can help you reach a wider player base and sustain success at scale. That’s all I have.
Thank you so much! I’ll be handing it off to Rob,
who will talk about how Google Cloud can help you scale your infrastructure. (Rob) Thank you, Abhita. I’m Rob Martin, Chief Architect
for gaming at Google Cloud. Abhita just talked about
the importance of developing a player-first
monetization strategy. At Google Cloud,
player experience comes first. Our goal is to help you simplify
infrastructure management, focus on delivering
great cross-platform player experiences
at a global scale. We do that in three ways. First, we provide highly performant
and globally available infrastructure to power seamless gaming experiences. Second, we give you
the data analytics and insights you need to optimize
your game’s performance. And finally, we help reduce
the management complexity and lock-in with our open-source gaming solutions. Everything we do starts with
our globally available infrastructure. Our powerful compute offerings, such as compute-optimized VMs,
that run at 3.8 GHz, are spread across our 22 regions, including gaming meccas,
such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul. We’ve previously announced
three more regions to come in Las Vegas, Jakarta, and Warsaw. And earlier this month
we announced new regions in Delhi, Doha, Toronto, and Melbourne. This is the same technical infrastructure that makes low-latency experience
on Stadia, possible. These locations are tied together
by our private fiber optic cable network. We have two tiers of network offerings, but our premium network tier
is what we recommend for games. This keeps traffic on Google’s private fiber network
as long as possible and exits to the public Internet at the closest location to the player. Apex Legends with Multiplay
is one of the many games that are utilizing
Google Cloud’s infrastructure to power their game, reaching millions of players
in record amounts of time during their launch. Hit games produce billions
and billions of data points per day. Embedded within those events
are the insights that can change your game
from a flash in the pan to a sustainable, long-term success. Google Cloud offers a complete,
smart analytics platform to help you capture, process,
and analyze data so that you can give
your user acquisition, live ops, and game development teams the insights they need to be successful. BigQuery is the cornerstone
of our smart analytics platform. It’s a scalable, serverless
data warehouse that can handle large amounts
of data seamlessly. Our analytics platform
comes with ML capabilities built in, so your analysts can access the data
they need in real-time and build ML models
directly inside BigQuery with familiar SQL. BigQuery ML has expanded functionality
to address even game-specific needs, such as k-means clustering
to build player segmentation, and matrix factorization to bring advertising
and product recommendations. King is using BigQuery to analyze billions of events per day
from their hit games. This data is used
for a variety of purposes. But one of the cooler
and more productive use cases is in training ML player models
that can simulate playtesting, reducing the time it takes
to test individual levels from days to hours. Your data scientists will also
have access to AutoML Tables. AutoML allows you to produce
state of the art ML models on structured data with just one click. Jam City is using AutoML tables to predict player behavior
in a short amount of time. By combining those insights
with their Google AdWord spend, they’re able to increase the ROI on their user acquisition
and their revenue. Finally, Google Cloud is working
with the games industry to build open-source solutions
that fit the needs of developers. Open Match, co-founded with Unity, provides a flexible, extensible,
and scalable matchmaking framework. It gives you control
over your custom match logic but frees you from the complexity of managing the underlying
infrastructure. Agones, co-founded with Ubisoft,
provides a simple, open-source solution for game server scaling
and management. Since it’s based on Kubernetes,
it can run on bare metal or multiple clouds
with standard Kubernetes tooling. Agones is ideal for managing game server deployments
on a regional level. But we want to make
managing a global game simpler, and that’s why we’re happy to announce Google Cloud Game Servers,
or GCGS, now in beta. Game Servers is a managed
service offering for Agones that reduces the complexity
of running Agones clusters globally. It provides developers
with choice, simplicity, and flexibility. Developers running Agones
in production can simply opt in
to the managed service by registering Agones clusters
with the Game Services API. You can opt out
and choose to manage these Agones clusters
yourself at any time. Game Servers also lets you define custom policies that are suited
to your global game. Finally, Game Servers will support Google Kubernetes engine
workloads in beta, but we know that avoiding being
locked in to a specific environment is important to developers, and we’re working on
multi-cloud support, which will come later in the year. If your game is running on Stadia
with Google Cloud as the backend, your players can have
a more consistent experience as both Stadia and GCP
have a common technical infrastructure. Of course, Stadia games
can run on any cloud, and Google Cloud supports
all platforms. We’ll hear more about Stadia
from Erin, shortly. Finally, we’re working with a wide range
of publishers, studios, and developers to bring these innovations
to the gaming industry. No matter what genre
or platform your game is on or where in the world it’s running,
we can help support your game. We’re proud to have recently announced a strategic partnership
with Activision Blizzard to power their games
on Google Cloud, and we look forward to working
with all of you on your next big hit. And now I’d like to pass it to Erin, who’s going to tell us
about the latest opportunities for game developers on Stadia. Thank you. (Erin) Thanks, Rob. I’m Erin, and I lead the creative team
for research and development at Stadia. You’ve just heard how Google Cloud can help you scale your game
around the globe. I’m here to share how Stadia
is empowering you with new opportunities
on our platform. It was just over one year ago,
at Moscone Center in San Francisco, kicking off
the Game Developers Conference where we first unveiled
our vision for Stadia to developers, players,
and YouTube creators. Since last March, we’ve created
multiple social channels, a community blog, and our own series of direct-to-consumer
digital press conferences called “Stadia Connect,” all of which are starting to build
conversation and community for Stadia. Gamers across North America
and Europe are now playing
newly released games on Stadia, like DOOM Eternal, across TV, PC,
laptops, and a variety of phones. Before now, a brand-new AAA title
playing on a low-end PC or a smartphone would have been unthinkable to players. But for today’s presentation,
we’re focused on a singular audience: game developers. We’ll share how our team at Stadia
is expanding partnership capabilities for developers of all sizes as we tackle the future
of gaming in the Cloud together. A year ago, at GDC, we showed you
the long-term vision for Stadia. Thank you to the many of you
who have partnered with us on the beginning of this journey. We showed you the vision of a platform
that delivers your content to the world in a brand-new way. Since November,
you’ve shipped more than 30 games and more than 60 game updates, all of which were delivered
to players in seconds without waiting for downloads. Thank you for all of your hard work
over these first few months. Last March, we showed you
a vision of players getting into your games
easier than ever. Today, a brand-new player
can sign up to Stadia, check their connection, and get into your game
in under four minutes. And players who already have
a Stadia account can get into your game
in an average of nine seconds. We showed you players
interacting with your games in new ways through YouTube,
with features like Crowd Play. In the last few months,
we’ve delivered those APIs to many of you who are working to integrate
and test them in your upcoming games
shipping this year. We showed you players watching videos
about your games on YouTube and jumping directly
into them in seconds. Later this year, we’ll roll this out globally
for all partners. We promised you development tools that would work
with your existing workflows, letting you bring
your best ideas to Stadia. Since then, we’ve worked
with hundreds of you to start your work on Stadia with more than 120 games
shipping this year alone. Together, we’re delivering on the vision to bring your games
to more players in seconds and in more places than ever before. And the immediacy of Stadia extends
to the development community as well. We’ve heard from you that the ease
of sharing a build across the world is a much simpler process on Stadia. Just upload a build
and teams can click a link and test instantly. Distributed teams
like Chump Squad, makers of Kine, can have artists in Australia
and QA in Poland and collaborate more efficiently, thanks to what it means
to create games on Stadia in the Cloud. And the support from the game development
community only continues to grow. We have hundreds of titles
and active development from the best studios in the world, from teams with incredible history,
like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, to immensely talented
development studios, like Robot Entertainment. We’re also thrilled to announce
a new partnership with the accomplished team
at Splash Damage in London. In the coming months,
we’ll be sharing more about the game
we’ve been working on together, and we’re so excited
to see how it comes to life exclusively on Stadia. The developers we’re working with
continue to inspire us as we grow our platform. It takes a leap of faith to step into something
this new and different. Thank you for your hard work. In addition to these partnerships,
we are also investing heavily in our own first-party efforts under the Stadia Games
& Entertainment division, led by Jade Raymond. Over the past six months,
we’ve opened two new studios: one in Playa Vista
led by Shannon Studstill who previously ran Sony Santa Monica,
the studio responsible for God of War; and the other studio in Montreal
is led by Sebastien Puel, the Executive Producer
of Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and many other hit Ubisoft titles. We’ll continue to invest in these studios and deliver world-class
AAA content to Stadia. In December, we acquired
Typhoon Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed
Journey to the Savage Planet, which brings Alex Hutchinson,
creative director of Far Cry 4 and Reid Schneider, former Head of Production
at Warner Brothers Games Montreal, to the Stadia family, along with the rest of their fantastic
development team at Typhoon. With strong creative teams
and infrastructure in place, SG&E’s first-party efforts are focused
on utilizing Google’s unique technologies to create richer,
more immersive experiences that are only possible in the Cloud. We’re also building publishing services
that bring together the best of Google. We want to help you publish your game
on any screen playable anywhere. Together, we will discover and create
even more unique ways to transform interactive entertainment. If you’re interested in joining us
on this adventure and having your game
published exclusively on Stadia, please reach out atstadia.devAs a new platform, we could only work
with a select few of you for our launch in November. Thank you for your patience
and understanding. Now that we’re a few months
down the road, we’ve improved our tools
and built new partnerships that will let us work
with many more of you. We’re now ready
to take the first steps to welcome more independent
developers to Stadia. To do this right, we started
by taking a step back and talking to you about what you’re trying to accomplish,
what you need, and how you want to work with us. So today, we’re announcing Stadia Makers,
a self-publishing program for experienced,
independent game developers. For these first steps
into self-publishing, Stadia Makers is partnering with Unity,
a team with a history of building new platforms hand in hand
with the development community. Unity has worked with thousands
of game developers over the years. Today, Unity has optimized
support for Stadia and more than 25 other platforms and powers 50% of all new games. Launching a game on a new platform
can be a challenge. There’s no way around it. And there’s even more to consider
when that new platform lives in the Cloud. Which is why we’ve worked
with Unity to define a committed technical support structure coming from experts on the Unity team. In addition, the Stadia Makers program
will include funding from us at Stadia and up to five pieces
of development hardware for your team. And we won’t be impacting
your list of target platforms beyond asking you to ship on Stadia
alongside your other planned skews. But, of course, the journey to launch
is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s also important that we deliver
a valuable marketplace to our development partners, a marketplace where your game
can be discovered once it’s time to launch. That’s why we’re keeping
the list of approved developers for Stadia Makers small as we take steps towards broader support
for independent developers. For this initial stage of
our self-publishing efforts with Stadia Makers, we’re looking for
experienced game developers who have shipped games in the past
and are using Unity 2019.3 or later for their in-development title. If you’re interested in getting involved
with Stadia Makers and being one of the first
approved developers to self-publish on Stadia
with technical assistance from Unity, head over tostadia.devand apply. We’ll also continue to expand
our engine support for Stadia Makers, so long as we can guarantee a strong developer support system
before doing so. Part of that ongoing investment
in developer support comes in the form
of new developer tools as well. We’re happy to announce
new integrations with Backtrace, which makes it easy
for Stadia developers to push crash reports
from their Stadia games to Backtrace, enabling them to capture
and monitor errors, prioritize issues to work on, and get everything they need to debug and resolve
gameplay impacting problems. And Vivox, which delivers
scalable, feature-rich and proven in-game voice and text chat. It’s used by some of the world’s
largest developers, like Ubisoft and Riot Games. Vivox is fully engine-agnostic
as well as being cross-platform. And the same goes
for our last new tool of the day, PlayFab, from our friends at Microsoft,
a complete backend platform for live games
with managed games services, real-time analytics, and LiveOps, so Stadia developers can boost revenue
and increase player engagement across any engine or platform. And this is all in addition
to the suite of tools that already exists on Stadia today, including RenderDoc, GAPID,
and tools from AMD, Intel, and others. These tools are just the beginning
for where game development is headed on Stadia. We have a lot more in store. We’re deeply investing
in the field of machine learning to bring new workflows and approaches
to the practice of game development. The Stadia research
and development team and I have put together a full breakdown of the current state of our work
and machine learning in our talk following this keynote. And that’s just one
of the many great talks from team Stadia
and the rest of Google. Thank you for your time today. Stadia has made
exciting progress as a platform in just a few short months
since launch, and none of it would be
possible without you. We’re excited to hear
from you onstadia.dev, whether you’re interested in partnering
with Stadia Games & Entertainment to build the next big hit, or interested in bringing your Unity title to our new self-publishing program,
Stadia Makers. Now, I’ll hand it back to John
to share some final thoughts. (John) Thanks, Erin. You’ve just heard the latest
announcements across Google focused on addressing
some of your biggest challenges and setting you up
for success for years to come. Android and Play are making
it easier to build games and reach new audiences. Ads are introducing ways
to grow your business and earn more by increasing
focus on your players. Cloud is helping you
scale your game globally with ease and Stadia shared some exciting
new platform opportunities. Here, at Google,
our teams are working together to build solutions that will empower you throughout the game development
life cycle and beyond. We are here to continue
partnering with all of you to create the next generation of games,
to connect with new players, and to scale your business
around the world today and tomorrow. I invite you to learn more
about what we’ve shared today by tuning into our Mobile,
Cloud and Stadia sessions. And from all of us, thank you
for keeping this community thriving. The future of gaming is already here,
and we can’t wait for what comes next. ♪ (electronic music) ♪


19 thoughts on “Google for Games Developer Summit Keynote

  1. I did not know that Android had a game pass already. I wonder if this is something they will consider for Stadia.

  2. As someone who is just starting to learn how to do this, I appreciate the clarity in this introduction. I look forward to learning as much as I can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *