Google Games Summit Keynote Announces Play As You Download Feature And More

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During the Google Games Summit Keynote, the tech company announced updates to Android’s gaming experience. Mostly pertaining to the dev side of things, the updates will make Android a more useful tool for creating games.

From the user perspective, the biggest piece of news is the ability to play as you download on Android 12. The function allows users to start playing a game immediately without waiting for the download to finish. Google claims 400 MB sized games will take around 10 seconds to load, as opposed to minutes. A dashboard–with a more easily accessible screen record and brightness adjustment–will also be a new feature.

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On the developer end of things, Game Mode APIs will help devs react to selected user settings, like low battery mode or peak frame rates selections. Devs will also get a new analytics tool that will help predict the range of users and technical issues by location. Another tool–Rating and Reviews–will be another bridge between devs and players, communicating player feedback.

Firebase Remote Configuration allows devs to modify the appearance and behavior of a game for a different audience subset without releasing an entirely new version. It’s available in early access currently. Pre-registration has also been tweaked to be more useful, and Play Integrity API will help tighten the security around a game, making sure there is no unauthorized early access.

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Google has been focused on bringing more games and developers to both its mobile product–Android–and its own streaming service. Stadia has undergone a turbulent start to 2021, with news that Google laid off most of its Stadia game development team. Head of Stadia, Phil Harrison, explained that Google wanted to focus on the console’s technology first and foremost instead of developing games for it. Google hasn’t quite given up on its console though: The tech company announced that “more than 100 games” will come to Stadia in 2021.

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