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Google Play Instant: how game developers are finding success

Marcelo Ferreiro
Director of Engineering at Jam City
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2018 Google I/O
May 10, 2018, Mountain View, USA
2018 Google I/O
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Google Play Instant: how game developers are finding success
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About speakers

Marcelo Ferreiro
Director of Engineering at Jam City
Benjamin Frenkel
Product Manager at Google
Kyle Rushton
Director of product at Zynga
Olivia Yu
Vice President at King

Marcelo Ferreiro is the director of engineering at Jam City Argentina, where his responsibilities include managing engineering activities for hit games, including Panda Pop. Prior to joining Jam City, Marcelo served as lead engineer at SGN from 2008 to 2011, where he worked on several successful mobile titles including iBowl, Mafia R&R, MiniTycoon and MiniCafe. Marcelo is a graduate of the National Technological University and is a certified Project Management specialist.

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Benjamin Frenkel is an Android product manager focused on Games. Prior to joining Google, Frenkel was a senior associate for McKinsey & Company. Frenkel holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and bachelor’s in computer science frm the University of Arizona.

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Olivia Yu is Vice President of Platform Partnerships for King, a Division of Activision/Blizzard. Olivia joined King in June of 2013 and oversees global platform partner and distribution growth strategy, relationships and operations for a portfolio of games including Candy Crush Saga. Prior to King, Olivia was Director of Product Development at Paramount Digital Entertainment. Olivia has over 10 years of experience in the entertainment and gaming industry and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two y

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About the talk

Learn from top game developers what it takes to instant-enable your game, and the key considerations all gaming developers should take into account.

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I've been Franco product manager on the Google Play instant team and I focused on games today. We have Jam City King and single with us to talk about Google Play instant. But before we get started, I'm going to provide you some context for the panel discussion. We launched in synapse and since then we've been pretty busy. We've been able to in synapse an over 1 billion devices and we've made major improvements to our tooling and Android studio and most recently at the game developers conference in

March. We announced that instant apps who's finally coming to games. And this week we were excited to announce that Google Play instant is now available to all game developers. Now, let's take a look at Google Play instant in action. Devon So King's Candy Crush team just launched that app this past Tuesday, and you can check it out on the Play store today. Just think about that for a second that Candy Crush one of the most if not the most successful mobile games ever coming to Google Play instant

and what Partners like King excited is the vision that bringing instant two games can transform game Discovery and we know that this is possible because we have seen this movie before it becomes instant consumption goes up speed is a huge competitive Advantage. We seen this with streaming music and movies and before that Google prove the transformative impact of speed with instant search. We want to do the same thing for games because we believe that instant will do the same

thing for you the game developer. Imagine users trying more games exploring more genres and ultimately finding more games. They love to play that would have a transformative impact on your business and over the course of our Early Access program. The data has proven this Theory out. Play the most visible entry point to an incident. Is it right now button as you can see here and with just the try now button partners are already seeing an up to 20% increase in user acquisition.

Again, that impact is from try now alone, which has scratches the surface of the overall Google Play instant opportunity. People will also be able to discover your game through ads through the play games app through social invites and Banners and collections on the Play Store. As if they were announcing that Anson apps is coming soon to pre-registration soon players that pre-register can also get a sneak preview of your game. And when you promote free registration through social media email

or your website users can instantly play that game from any Android device way to introduce your game to the world. And if you look at what our partners are done with the discovery services that I just described and you hear about what they're excited about doing in the future. You'll start to see how important role Google Play Nsync and play throughout the life cycle of a game. From the pre-launch phase when your goal is to make your launch as big as possible in order to build the height machine around your game.

And what do you have that big want and you've acquired a bunch of users you on your game to go viral? You want your players to invite their friends to the party. So to speak and after your game has been around for a while your goals end up changing. Your focus then turns to retaining your existing players and bring back those that may have churned stayed the right instant experience can play an integral role in your game success. And there are three types of Benson experiences among the many many that we saw among. Our partners was very difficult to choose

just these three, but I wanted to highlight these three today for you. The first is the Mini-Game a Mini-Game is often a gaming experience that is complementary to the full game and is a great fit for pre-registration. Dance Wills mini game here. It lets you choreographed a routine by manipulating the inner individual limbs on this awesome looking character here. And once you were done, you can share an animated gif with all of your friends. It offers endless combinations of moves and plenty of entertainment to occupy players all the way through to the

eventual launch of the game. The second is what I'm calling the core gameplay preview. The goal of this archetype is to provide a glimpse of what players will experience after the tutorial in introductory level. This is a great game and a great type for different experiences that have a deep upgrade system. For example, such a Zombie Gunship Revenant like you can see here. In this example be installed up at the top didn't we start you off with just a single weapon? So unusual to let people slowly acclimate to new game mechanics and so

forth to set up with a single machine gun and the zombie horde that's arriving up. There is arriving at a relatively modest pace. Contrast this with the incidents. Which you can see down here on the left. If it's one, you don't just get one machine gun, but you get to machine guns you get a high-power sniper rifle and hellfire missiles. The whole experience is attended to get your adrenaline pumping and is a great fit for try now for ads and other user acquisition channels.

And if you're focused on bringing back turn users the game highlights pattern might be the right fit for you. The Candy Crush experience is a great example of this to builder in snap the Candy Crush team selected five levels from the more than 3,000 available in the full game starting with level 16 going all the way up to level 590 and each was selected to highlight a unique combination of game mechanic. I really like playing level 590 what you can see here. There's a conveyor belt that perpetually move candies around and there is

this really fascinating portal right in the middle of it, but you can't see right now you can baby see there now and through which candies magically disappear The goal of this type of experience is provided glimpse of what you be what you've been missing out on since the last time you play and it's very effective. So now that you have a sense of the role Google Play Nsync and play throw the white flag over the game. Let's turn our attention to how you build these types of experiences and just like we want to make it as easy as possible. For users to start playing your games. We also want

to make it easier for you the game developer to build these experiences. Are we made a substantial investment in this area? First we've adopted the internet framework to better suit the unique needs of game developers. There are three changes that we made to the framework. We raise the size limit to 10 megabytes. We enable to Progressive download of assets an executable code and very importantly we integrated with game engines and added support for native code in opengl. And that last point is vitally important because it means you can use the

same code base as your full game to build your internet and by integrating with game engines like Unity, we've made it possible to build with the tools that you're already familiar with. To make this possible for you to your developers. Possibly many of you in the audience here today. We have to work closely with the world's most widely used game engine Unity through this close collaboration millions of unity developers will be able to optimize their current and future games for Google Play instant and to that end with built the Google Play instant Unity plugin, the plug-in

simplifies building and deploy all from within the unity ID and it will be available in the coming weeks. And if your uni developer and you want to start building an instant experience today recommend you join our Unity beta program and you can sign up at this link here in the lower left hand corner and I'll review this at the end to so you don't have to immediately break out your photos and take a picture. And today you'll get the latest news and access to Beta features. Russell excited to announce the Coco's has added instant support to their ID Coco's Creator

end up going to be on supporting Google Play instant as a bill Target by adding tools that simplify the process of building and it's an app to the standard Bill process just for this purpose record and refactor stuff on the recording stuff. You play your game in the Coco simulator which tracks which assets are used and when you use a visual nonlinear editing style tool to define the boundaries of your instant experience. An app that you're broken down by category as you can see here. to

support further optimization Koko's has made an alpha build available for The Adventurous to try and you can check it out today. With that now that I've set the contact with bring our esteemed panel up on the stage talk about their vision for and experience with incidents. Thank you. So why don't we take things off with each of you introducing yourself Talking bit about your background and any other thoughts you think might be interesting for the crop. I'm by myself radio. I'm eating at some City and we were in charge of

Creating the Google Play instant experience for Panda Pop game. Can Olivia UI vice president of platform Partnerships that King and we created to Google Play and sent experiences one with bubble witch 3 and then just recently earlier this week on Tuesday with Candy Crush Saga. Play my name is Kyle Rushton. I'm a senior director of product management. It's been for the last six years and I work at Zynga are Central product management team. I worked in both is Zynga Solitaire and Words With Friends 2 Google Play instant experiences that so

first question. How do you see instant and it's an experience is impacting the overall gaming landscape? So the mobile gaming landscape, it's more competitive than ever at this moment. And we see Google instant instant SR22 for Developers for new users into their games. So I think that that's a great work uniform. SOI King, I think we think it can you know completely change the way that games are discovered. So there's a ton of different untappd opportunities that we're looking into whether it's advertising cross-promotion and our gain social there's a bunch of different

opportunities that we haven't even looked at for Google Play instant. So there's a lot of untapped potential about App Store Discovery, ultimately see more consumers try and games which will ultimately lead to more installs and longer and better engagement. I was thinking longer-term. I think it allow developers to reshape the way they think about discovering the first place and lobsters think outside the box about how we bring our experiences to Consumers and ways, they're outside of traditional App Store. Awesome. So couple other questions

here. If you guys what instant use cases have you tried and what use cases are you most excited about? sofa for us we build their first 10 levels of the game 4 for users to play and then they are able to carry over their progress into their food up when they install it. So it's more like the core gameplay right now and in the future we see that we are going to explore. Probably sharing the game with your other with your friends, right? But it would be like a social invite use case. Yes. Yes. No, no. Please will kids

use cases probably specifically on the performance marketing side once it's available and then also for our you know for our side also cross-promotion. It's really important as you brought up earlier. We have a ton of laps players on Candy Crush Saga. So it's a great way for us to bring players back for them to see all the you know, everything that's happened with the game all the new features and for people to remember, you know about the game against I think those are sort of the main fuse cases are

pretty excited about and social as well as myself I mentioned on try now, so I'm trying to optimize conversion funnel through App Store. I think I'm most excited about and perhaps this is in regards to such a few times. I love the part of my think of DNA as well. It's absolutely certain social in. Social sharing. I think I'm native driving verality and social growth has always been challenging for the recipient side of that experience is always a lot of friction for use a receiving an invite to think about what

they perceived go to the App Store download the app install the app and then ultimately no potentially playthrough of a tree and then find out what their friend was actually trying to share with them. What are the incident where you can share that experience perhaps in a Player move in Words With Friends share it with your friend and they immediately open the game board is red transformative in the way. We would think about Discovery and sharing happen in the first place. So-and-so common theme Here social good and there's lots of other opportunities to hear

thoughts on so far what's been the impact you saying? And what do you anticipate in the future from the next project that you do with Google Play and spin? well, I I think social was being really important in the in that sense being able to Just click and being able to play the game that's going to be really important. It removes the friction of the installation, which is where people actually are eager to play the game and they probably need to wait 10 15 20 seconds to download it and being able to take advantage of that eagerness. And

I think that that that's going to be really important in the future. Thank you install and then we've actually seen a lot of users who would play the NSYNC game actually go to install Bubble Witch 3 or Candy Crush Saga. So that's what we're really excited about. And then I think if there's different ways to continue to optimize the funnel from you no incentive actually installing the game. Yes, we did really encouraged by level of Engagement. We've seen with the try no

experience in the demand for stains from the consumer side. Feel really being interested. Just check something out and unnecessarily download that the folks. But our Focus has been throwing on driving in solving conversion. They looking forward in addition to sort of moving for that experience also have to drive things like re-engagement Andre activations and others are coremetrics a part of the experience Beyond just optimization of a whole lot of sense. So you would heard from you kind of like what you've done what the impact has been

but let's see if the conversation talk about how you build the instant app and it how you design and it's an experience. So let's start off with you. What factors do you think make for a great insult experience? I think for us it was really important, you know, you're pretty much playing instantly and to make sure that the player feels like they're in pretty much the experience right away and it's really really picked as you showed earlier really exciting level. So we wanted to make sure we had really great if sighting and engaging levels for the user experience with that was for us

really important. That's all we've selected certain levels as you can see you so certain level test boosters are in teachers to make sure it's really different for every level that they experience within the Google Play instant experience. Yeah, so I can rephrase the restate the question. What factors make for a great Ensign experience speed is important to getting people immediately into the corps experience. I think probably goes without saying but I also think it's important to read design for the

Youth case. So a zinc with optimization of installs being sort of our private primary driver, you're really trying to get an experience that was concise and short but it ended in a clear opportunity to expose a user to installing The Full Experience. If you were, you know doing something like a social invite or using it for cross-promotion or user acquisition or different channels. You might have to think about the design for that use case specifically Israel portent understand exactly. What kpi you're trying to drive when building the experience to find out and said one-size-fits-all

without answer. so what for us what made sense was to automation before Bill like the first part of the game basically because we know with strong, so I wanted to share that and having the possibility to then move to the fool up and be able to carry over that progress that use case that we use by the we see in the future. I know the possibilities of making probably another games that we doing some City like this in different use faces and organizers for for each game. Follow up for you. So building a game that meet the 10 GB

size. Limit sounds probably for many of you. I can be pretty intimidating but all of you to successfully, you know done something like that and what my question is for you is as you as you built out the incidents pruriens for Panda Pop, what are the kinds of things you learned about in a boat that process is well as maybe things that you learned about the the the installed apps infrastructure and so forth. So our first idea was to make the instance up 2011 has long been able to go back and forth to the map

and then go to the game and then go to the map again. But again, we are lies that we were going to achieve the size limit goal. That was not so I thought I'd point we get together with the team basically decided to only do gameplay and do the first 10 levels. So got any last to remove a lot of pictures since that we weren't using localization strings that needs to be Street off what we learned is that every little thing that you can come remove from from the I remove it because it's going to be

important remove the plugins remove their organizations that children use the smallest prefab important to take it out all cut up. Take away everything. We try to do it in a way where we could be lit on top of the ruler game. So we benefit from changing from the changes that we made in in the pool at So I will recommend that if possible. Do you think that through that process you were able to make optimizations that then impacted your full game? Is that right? Yes

to things that we benefit from building a stand-up one was. we improve the way we were making bone animations and that That made the application run smoother and with a reduce memory footprint. So we basically eating the food out we gain. Memory on Wii game performance, so it was truly beneficial. It's awesome. And what do you talk about your experience in converted a couple of games that I've had an opportunity to play and what was your experience like and how did you do that? Fortunately in the case of Zynga

solitaire app itself was just around the 10-day Mark. So I didn't have much difficulty getting into that. The threshold neck is too and I think it wasn't it goes back to sort of like the design piece of it as well as early as having a clear focus of what we wanted to bring to Consumers for us. We launch Words With Friends to about six months ago are the new features do you want with that? I was a feature called solo series which allows users to play against AI powered bought a really good match for the instant experience to focus exclusively

on bringing a subset of solo series to the infant out by having that clear Focus were able to remove a lot of other stuff that was tangential unrelated. And so we could really reduce the app size and build a really Queen experience without a lot of the other Xbox but especially up. Also set up to synthesize that you're saying that you can cut out what's a lots of bubble but nothing is to just focus on like one particular slice of the experience exactly get summary. He's also looking for us. We just focus

a lot on the game play and then you know, we took out the Saga map. We don't have any other features in a lot of our games always have a narrative in the beginning and if it's too easily obviously took everything else was only just focus on the game play. That's what we wanted to focus on and similar things from a lot of other partners as well. You know, that's either shipping out assets or choosing it's the light gameplay, but I think it's really good to get some additional contacts from you up here so quickly talk to you about some of the challenges related to

developing a it's an experience in unity and what are some of the things that you, you know ended up having to do and learn through that process. well as mentioned before they the biggest challenge for us was size rightfully, so We we need permission before we need to change the way we were doing Dragonborn animations. We were using at the time device that it was position. They were bigger and they were also taking up a lot of memory in the game. and after that, we also needed to like refractor certain points of certain parts of

the code to be able to only use the scene of the gameplay. I think those were the two biggest challenges that we needed to make but in the end we we end up with our mother. Ovulation and we were able to benefit from the technical way also so it was a win-win for us. excellent, and so looking forward Overall, what kind of developments do you see emerging in the instant gaming space in the coming years you can go as far in the future as you would like to hear your thoughts on how you see the whole Space evolving.

I think that this is going to be like probably I would say the future of Houston application. Also this whole truck part of me never to share a link and start playing like right away. That's probably going to be the future apps that there we went to see and of course we went to benefit from them. I think as you mentioned especially with new games coming. So there's also a way, you know to also fully leverage their pre-registration on Google Play right to try the game before they

pre-register and I install it so I think that's another way and then you know, depending on where you are and you know the stage for your game there could be different instant games experiences. They're excited to see what the creativity of game developers will bring to the Google instant. And I think there will be some breakout mechanic built on top of Google instant Google Play instant that today would would not be possible. And what do you think about it from a design perspective and what you can bring it once there's no friction between current user and

a potential user or reactivated you sir. I think we'll be able to build new mechanics on top of that that are breakout. I wanted to give you a big round of applause. Thank you for being here and I hope you all learned a lot. And I just wanted to close things out with a collection of links so that you can follow up and take action on the things you learned today. So yes taking a photo is definitely preferable. Look at this last year all is probably difficult to remember

there's a beta sign up for for Unity. If you want to build a game with unity today, we encourage that obviously then you sign up here to be part of our instant Beta And if you're interested and adventurous and a willing to try something that's hot off the press the alpha Bill to Coco's creator with the new features that we describe today. You can go to this link here. It's very stable. I've been told by the people from Coco's so-called and it was table redo. I don't check it out. I think you're going to really get a kick out of it, and it's only going to get better from here. So thank

you all for your time and enjoy what remains of ayo.

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