Google Encourages Android Developers to Build Games Apps for Tablets

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-07-30

Google Encourages Android Developers to Build Games Apps for Tablets

Google is pushing its new Nexus 7 tablets and updated Android 4.3 mobile operating system as tools for software developers to create and expand gaming apps for legions of new gamers.

The idea is that the new tablets and Android OS "represent opportunities to take advantage of a growing number of users," according to a July 29 post on the Android Developers Blog by Purnima Kochikar, director of business development, games and applications for Android.

"The Android games category on Google Play is on fire; in fact, the vast majority of top mobile game developers are building Android tablet games, and most new titles launch immediately on Android," wrote Kochikar. "To help game developers take advantage of the next generation of games, at Google I/O in May, we introduced Google Play game services, our gaming platform for Android, iOS and the Web. By building on Google's strengths in mobile and cloud services, Google Play game services allows game developers to focus on what they’re good at: creating great gaming experiences for their users."

To help grow that market even more, Google also just released its new Google Play Games app, which lets games players link up with friends online so they can see what they are playing and play together, wrote Kochikar. This new app that brings players together will turbocharge the growth of gaming on Android tablets even more, wrote Kochikar.

"Since the launch at Google I/O, just over two months ago, over one thousand games have added Google Play game services, with millions of users enjoying features like leaderboards and multiplayer inside of the games they love," she wrote. "Some of those early developers using Google Play game services are reporting incredible upticks in vital engagement metrics; for instance, Concrete Software is seeing session length up 15 percent, and Glu is reporting a 40 percent increase in 7-day user retention."

To encourage continued connections with Android tablet users, Kochikar recommends that developers take several steps to make their games more popular on Google Play so they will be purchased by more players. A key step developers can take is to integrate their game offerings with Google Play Games by using achievements and leaderboards to build deeper interest in the competition, while also adding real-time multiplayer capabilities to competitive and cooperative games to increase player engagement. The post also recommends that developers use Play Games branding guidelines and rich visuals to attract users and game buyers to their apps.

"Whether it be getting your app ready for the wave of new Android tablets that are lighting up each day, or opening up a whole new set of features for your users with Google Play game services, a great Android experience starts with a great app or game," wrote Kochikar. "That's why we're working hard to help provide you with the tools and features needed to create those great experiences for your users, and to help you reach as many of them as possible in the process, with Google Play."

Google Encourages Android Developers to Build Games Apps for Tablets

The Android tablet ecosystem has come a long way, with more than 70 million activations of Android tablets so far, with more than one in two tablets sold today running Android, wrote Kochikar. "We're starting to see with Android tablets what could be the hockey-stick growth all of us experienced a couple of years ago with Android smartphones, and we hope that the new Nexus 7 continues to fuel this growth even further."

With that in mind, wrote Kochikar, Android developers should be aware of all the new apps that top developers have been building for Android tablets and their users, including content providers such as The New York Times, Zappos, Evernote, Flipboard, Pinterest and others. "To help users find your tablet-designed apps more easily on Google Play, you can now choose to only see apps designed for tablets in the top lists. There are also over 50 new collections, which highlight outstanding tablet apps."

When building their apps, developers should be sure that the programs adhere to the tablet app quality checklist that Google released in October 2012 as a way to help them build better apps that display properly on users' devices, wrote Kochikar. The checklist has been updated to give developers more tips and information on how to achieve better app performance and optimization on tablets and increased sales of those apps.

"It details all of the key things you need to do to optimize your app for tablets, like taking advantage of the extra screen real estate and adjusting font sizes and touch targets, to things you can do on the distribution side, like declaring support for tablet screens and showcasing your tablet UI on Google Play by uploading tablet-specific screenshots," he wrote. "Optimizing your app for Android tablets will unlock a whole new group of users, like those who are about to receive their new Nexus 7 tablets."

In April, Google's Play store gained new capabilities that allow app developers to better showcase their new apps when consumers search for them using their mobile devices in the app-filled store. App developers can now upload screen shots of their apps running on 7-inch and 10-inch tablets so consumers can see what those apps will look like on their similar devices, which Google and the developers hope will continue to spur even more sales of innovative and useful apps in the store.

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