Android Game Developers Gain Access to More User Info

Developers who are building games for Android can now get new insights into who is buying and playing their apps, thanks to the Google Play Developer Console.

Android Game Developers

Google Play Games is again working to help game developers find their target markets for their products by adding more demographics-tracking tools to the Google Play Developer Console.

Three key new demographics categories that track players' countries, ages and genders will now be collected in addition to existing demographics data, Ben Frenkel of the Google Play Games team wrote in a June 2 post on the Android Developers Blog.

The extra demographics collection follows earlier moves made by Google in March when new game statistics were added in the Google Play Developer Console.

"You'll see demographics integrated into Overview stats as well as the Players reports for New and Active users" in reports available through the console, wrote Frenkel. "With a better understanding of your users' demographic composition, you'll be able to make more effective decisions to improve retention and monetization."

The extra tools can help games developers track potential problems with their products so they can quickly resolve them to boost sales, he wrote. Such capabilities can be used, for instance, if a developer launches a new game globally and expected it do particularly well in Germany, wrote Frenkel.

"Using country demographic data, you see that Germany is much less active than expected," he wrote. "After some digging, you realize that your tutorial was not properly translated to German. Based on this insight, you immediately roll out a fix to see if you can improve active users in Germany."

Another possible scenario that can give more information to games developers is that a demographics report can show that a new game is very popular with women in their mid-20s, which can inspire a developer to make additional changes to the game to bring in even more users, wrote Frenkel. "Your in-app purchase data corroborates this, showing that the one female hero character is the most popular purchase. Empowered by this data, you race to add female hero characters to your game."

The latest new tools follow Google's release of its latest Version 4.1 of Google Play Services in January 2014, giving Android developers a new selection of features that they could build into their applications, including turn-based multiplayer support and improved battery life capabilities.

Google Play Games, which is Google's gaming platform for Android and iOS devices and for the Web, was introduced by the company in early 2013. Changes to the Google Play store in February 2014 made it easier for game developers to categorize and market their game apps. New categories that were introduced, such as Simulation, Role Playing and Educational, will help customers find the games and help developers match their wares to customers who are seeking them.

In December 2013, Google introduced new gaming features for Android apps developers, including the ability to add realistic two-dimensional physics actions to their games for fans.

In October 2013, Google added several new developer tools to its maturing Google Play Games platform so that developers can continue to improve and grow their game apps for consumers and gaming fanatics. The upgrades included new alerts to developers for errant coding or other problems that are found in the apps they are building for consumers, as well as new features that make it easier to see and review statistics about players and their activities with the apps, right in the Google Play Developer Console. Also added was more cloud storage so that players can save their games for playing at a later date using Cloud Save, which is one of the most popular features for Android game developers.

In July 2013, Google began a push to encourage Android developers to create more games for tablets to attract game players to the popular devices. To help grow that market more, Google released its new Google Play Games app, which lets game players link up with friends online to see what they are playing and play together.

In April 2013, 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.

Google Play, which was created in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks, has been a huge hit. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and Google e-Bookstore sites.