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. Mainly on the development side of things, the updates will make Android a more useful tool for creating games.

From a user perspective, the biggest new feature is the ability to play while you download on Android 12. The feature allows users to start playing a game immediately without waiting for the download to complete. Google says 400MB games will take around 10 seconds to load, instead of minutes. A dashboard – with more easily accessible screen recording and brightness adjustment – will also be a new feature.

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On the developer side, Game Mode APIs will help developers react to selected user settings, like low battery mode or maximum frame rate selections. Developers will also have a new analytics tool that will help predict user range and technical issues by location. Another tool – Rating and Reviews – will be another bridge between developers and players, communicating player feedback.

Firebase Remote Configuration allows developers to change how a game looks and behaves for a different subset of audience without releasing an entirely new version. It is currently available in early access. Pre-registration has also been changed to be more useful, and the Play Integrity API will help increase security around a game, ensuring there is no unauthorized early access.

Google has been focused on bringing more games and developers to both its mobile product – Android – and its own streaming service. Stadia has had a turbulent start to 2021, with news that Google has laid off most of its Stadia game development team. Stadia head Phil Harrison explained that Google primarily wants to focus on console technology instead of developing games for it. Google hasn’t quite given up on its console: the tech company has announced that “over 100 games” will be coming to Stadia in 2021.

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