Google gets serious about gaming at GDC
We thought it was great when Google updated Google Play Games last week some much wanted — and needed — features, but it seems that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Google has expanded their presence at GDC, and it looks like they are going all-in with mobile gaming.
There's a good reason for this. According to their data, three out of every four Android users play games on their device. Here at Mobile Nations, that figure is closer to four out of four. Games for the small screen have come a long way, and are a legitimate, mainstream source of entertainment.
Google wants to make developing them easier, which means they get better for users. They're introducing 18 new game categories in Google Play to make them easier to sort through, and updating the Unity plug-in, the C++ SDK, and Google Play Games Services for iOS multiplayer fun. Other tools for developers will make monetizing things easier by putting analytics right in the AdMob console and they're enhancing all the statistics in the developer console.
Finally, they are also introducing what they call "game gifts" where players can send virtual in-game items to folks in their circles, or the world-at-large through a player search feature.
We're live at GDC, and you can bet we'll be talking to Google and sitting in on some of their Developer Day sessions. If you're a gamer and an Android fan — and I know there are plenty of us out there — things are getting pretty interesting.