It’s called the Play Store for a reason. Google’s app store is filled with a veritable cornucopia of games—so many, in fact, it can be hard to find good ones that aren’t from big-name developers like Nintendo or Electronic Arts. But through a series of initiatives announced at the Game Developer Conference, Google is looking to change that.
As the Play store expands and gaming becomes more sophisticated, Google has turned its attention to the little guy. While the biggest games will still get the most visibility, Google has announced that it will begin promoting apps with high-quality gaming experiences—this based on engagement, not just installs.
The search giant has already begun to fine-tune its Play Store algorithms to optimize searches for the amount of time users spend with a game, not just how often it’s download
ed. Google says that while it won’t be discarding volume and rating, it wants to reward game quality, and its moves should help smaller developers reach a larger audience.
Google will also let developers offer sales with strikethrough pricing so users can see the extent of the discount. Available immediately in the Google Play Developer Console, the new feature will allows developers to run visible promotions on both paid apps and games. Google had already begun a pilot program utilizing strikethrough pricing, and it says developers saw up to 20 times more installs during their promotions.
Finally, Google will also be introducing a greater level of editorial curation of high quality games. It doesn’t take an expert to realize that a prime position on the main Play Store page will result in more sales, and Google wants to expand that visibility beyond its current method. It will begin rolling out curated pages of hand-selected games in various genres, helping users to discover games they might not otherwise find.
In addition to the new Play Store initiatives, Google announced that nearly 300 million new users adopted Android devices from emerging markets such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia.
Game on: You don’t have to be a gamer to know hard it can be to find new apps in the Play Store. While the announcements here are specifically targeted at gaming developers, the initiatives are useful all across the store, especially the strikethrough pricing. Seeing which apps are on sale and the extent of the discount will surely increase sales, while also making it easier for users to find high-quality apps that will bolster their Android experience.