谷歌高管称Google Play Games可创造更佳游戏体验
这的确没错。在4月的时候，手机追踪公司App Annie透露，Google Play在原生下载数字上追赶着App Store的同时，苹果的数字发行市场带给开发者的收益是Google Play的2.6倍。
游戏市场上展开着激烈的手机应用主导地位争夺战，随着Google Play Games服务和应用的引进，谷歌越来越重视他们在Android平台上的游戏体验的完善。
Google Play Games首席产品经理Greg Hartrell说道：“Android作为手机游戏平台正在快速发展着。它能够让游戏开发者接触到一些从未接触过的玩家。最近，我们也发现每4个Android用户中就有3个用户在玩游戏。这便代表我们的玩家基础不断壮大。”
Hatrell具有游戏开发经验。在微软，他曾致力于Xbox 360的开发，并担任过Xbox Live团队的高级组项目经理。Xbox Live是微软的多人网络系统。而现在Hatrell在谷歌，并且他希望将自己之前开发和管理Xbox Live（游戏邦注：世界上最出色的多人系统之一）的经验与谷歌的优势结合在一起。
这也推动着他和Google Play Games团队在5月份于Google I/O上引进了Play Games服务。
Google Play Games服务是存在于谷歌云端的一个网络系统。它能让Android，网页，甚至是苹果的iOS平台上的开发者基于许多社交和多人功能去创造游戏。举个例子来说吧，基于Google Play Games服务最早发行的一款游戏便是赛船游戏《Riptide GP2》。多亏了谷歌的云端基础设施，这款游戏能够支持在线多人机制，排行榜，成就和云端保存等等。
在7月份一次小型活动中，Hartrell的团队发行了Google Play Games应用，即专注于一个地区所有的Android用户游戏。让玩家可以看到自己的好友在玩些什么并因此快速发现新游戏。
谷歌一直在向那些为了利用这些功能去获取并挽留玩家的而执行Google Play Games代码的开发者们推荐这些功能。
Hartrell说道：“我们发现许多开发者都积极地接纳Google Play Games。例如Glu Mobile便将Play Games服务整合到自己的多款新游戏中以及早前的一些游戏中。Glu更是向我表示，其《永恒战士2》因为这些功能在7天内便提高了40%的用户留存以及20%的用户游戏时间。”
在谷歌引进Play Games产品不久后，开发者已经将该服务整合到1000多款游戏中。除了Glu Mobile，Hatrell还指出了一些较大的发行项目，如《神庙逃亡2》也使用了Goole Play Games服务去追踪玩家的表现，并使用排行榜功能去比较他们与好友的成绩。
Google Play Games的原理
我们可以将Google Play Games当成一种“面向手机的Xbox Live似的服务”，并只作用于一些特定内容。游戏便是Xbox 360的一切，而拥有Xbox 360的玩家通常都很重视一种特殊的游戏体验类型。也就是说Xbox 360注重于研究如何呈现出《使命的召唤》，《Madden》和《时空幻境》等“硬核”游戏。
Android也同时突出了一些深层次的军事策略游戏和《Candy Crush Saga》。我询问了Hartrell他的团队是如何平衡多人游戏基础设施的创造而同时服务于硬核游戏玩家和社交游戏玩家。他表示，从谷歌的角度来看，机制其实并不重要。
Hartrell说道：“基本上来看，Google Play Games是关于将无数玩家聚集在一起。游戏便是牵引着他们的线。我们采取的方法便是继续完善该平台从而为用户带去更棒的社交体验，让他们能够一起经历有趣的时刻，如此我们便能够摆脱手机游戏是孤独游戏体验的说法了。”
面向iOS的Google Play Games
关于Google Play Games服务最有趣的一点便是它能够作用于iOS平台。该软件是完全源于谷歌的云端，所以任何平台上的任何游戏都能够进入谷歌，并使用像云端储存和排行榜等功能。
而问题就在于：任何面向iOS发行游戏的开发者是否能够使用Google Play Games服务？
上周，谷歌更新了开发者网站，并一步步解释了如何将Google Play Games服务整合到一款iOS应用中。我仔细想了想，并发现目前还未有一款游戏做到这点。
“我认为，那些使用了Google Play Games并面向Android发行游戏的开发者们正在经历着强大的发展动力。如果你并未面向我们的平台开发游戏，你就需要思考那些数字。我们真心希望所有人都能体验这些功能。这真的是游戏领域中非常棒的时刻。”
另外一大动机便是Google Play Games服务加强了它的反盗版对策。即开发者可以使用相关工具避免玩家访问那些未经过认证的功能，甚至是整款游戏。
Google Play Games boss to devs: Android is a ‘party we want everyone to experience’
By Jeffrey Grubb
The narrative regarding Google’s Android operating system is that mobile developers can make money on Android, but they won’t make as much as they do on Apple’s iOS.
That’s still true. In April, mobile-tracking firm App Annie revealed that while Google Play is catching up to the App Store in terms of raw download numbers, Apple’s digital-distribution market is paying out 2.6 times more in revenue to developers than Google Play.
A huge part of the battle for mobile-app dominance is fought in the gaming market, and Google finally got serious about improving the gaming experience on the Android platform this year when it introduced the Google Play Games services and app.
“Android’s growing rapidly as a mobile-gaming platform,” Google Play Games lead product manager Greg Hartrell told GamesBeat. “It’s enabling game developers to reach this unprecedented audience of players. Recently, we started sharing that three in every four Android users are playing games. That represents a very large number of gamers.”
Hatrell comes from a gaming background. At Microsoft, he worked on Xbox 360 and led the Xbox Live team as senior group program manager. Xbox Live is Microsoft’s multiplayer networking system. Now that he’s at Google, Hartrell wants to take what he learned developing and managing Xbox Live, which is one of the best multiplayer systems in the world, and combine that with Google’s strengths.
That led him and the Google Play Games team to introduce the Play Games services at Google I/O in May.
Google Play Games services is a networking system that lives in Google’s cloud. It enables developers on Android, the web, and even Apple’s iOS to build games with a host of social and multiplayer features. For example, one of the earliest games to launch with Google Play Games services is the watercraft racing game Riptide GP2. Thanks to Google’s cloud infrastructure, the game supports online multiplayer, leaderboards, achievements, and cloud saves.
Players just need to log in with their Google+ account and the system handles everything else.
At a small event in July, Hartrell’s team released the Google Play Games app, which centralizes and surfaces all of an Android user’s games in one location. Players can even see what their friends are playing and quickly discover new titles.
Google is pitching all of these features to developers, who have to implement the Google Play Games code in order to take full advantage of these features as a way to acquire and retain players.
“We’re seeing some very positive metrics from our developers that have adopted Google Play Games,” said Hartrell. “For example, Glu Mobile integrated Play Games services into the vast majority of its newer titles and many of its older ones as well. With its title Eternity Warriors 2, Glu shared with us that it saw seven-day retention improve by 40 percent and an increase in play sessions by 20 percent.”
In the short time since Google introduced the Play Games products, developers integrated the services into over 1,000 games. In addition to Glu Mobile, Hartrell pointed to major releases like Temple Run 2, which now use Google Play Games services to track a players’ performances against their friends using the leaderboard functionality.
“We’re going to continue to see a lot of great games integrate with our platform,” said Hartrell. “Not only does it bring benefits to game developers, but it also brings great experiences to their players.”
The philosophy of Google Play Games
The shortcut of explaining Google Play Games as an “Xbox Live-like service for mobile” only works to a certain extent. Gaming is what an Xbox 360 is all about, and the type of player that owns an Xbox 360 is usually focused on one particular type of gaming experience. That is to say, Xbox 360 specializes in fully fleshed out “hardcore” games like Call of Duty, Madden, and Braid.
Meanwhile, Android simultaneously features deep military-strategy games and Candy Crush Saga. I asked Hartrell how his team balanced building a multiplayer infrastructure that can serve both a hardcore gaming audience and one that binges on social games. He says that from Google’s perspective, the mechanics don’t matter all that much.
“Fundamentally, Google Play Games is about taking these hundreds of millions of gamers and bringing them together,” said Hartrell. “Gaming is the thread that really brings us together, right? The way we do that is to continue to evolve the platform in a way that brings fantastic social experiences to users and enables them to experience great moments together, so that we can move away from a world where mobile gaming is this solitary type of experience.”
“I think that if we do that right, a lot of varying styles of games can sit alongside each other because it’s not really about the mechanics themselves. It’s about who you are playing with and finding the best way to share your experiences with others.”
Google Play Games for iOS
One of the most interesting aspects of Google Play Games services is that it works on iOS. The software lives totally in Google’s cloud, so any game on just about any platform can tap into Google and use features like cloud saves and leaderboards.
The question is: Has anyone released a game for iOS that uses Google Play Games services?
“We don’t really have specific titles that we can showcase right now, [but] we’ve seen some response there for certain,” said Hartrell. “As you can imagine the Android side gets more attention by virtue of who we are.”
Last week, Google updated its developer site with a step-by-step explanation of how to integrate Google Play Games services into an iOS app. I’ve looked myself, and can’t find a single game that’s done this so far.
“We can only say that we’re seeing great interest in being cross platform,” said Hartrell. “It’s a big part of our initiative to get players together wherever they are.”
What about those iOS developers that don’t work on Android
Gaming on Android has never compared well to iOS. Some games come out later on the Google Play market. Other titles don’t come out at all. Hartrell looks at this issue in a positive light.
“I think that what we’ve found is that 19 of the top 20 mobile-game developers have already adopted Android,” he told me. “It’s already a great place for them to bring their experiences and their craft to game players. From that perspective, we’re pretty satisfied with the adoption we’ve seen. I’d be hard pressed to find a developer who isn’t at least already considering developing on Android. We’re talking about 900 million active devices.”
And yet, some developers still don’t bring their games to Android. Popular titles like Tiny Wings, Ridiculous Fishing, and Tilt to Live don’t have Android ports despite those 900 million active devices. I asked Hartrell what he would say to those studios that are still holding out on developer for Android.
“What I would say is the game developers that are adopting Google Play Games and publishing on Android are experiencing great momentum. If you are a [developer] holding out from developing on our platform, then you got to think about those numbers. It’s a real party over here right now, and we want everyone to experience it. It’s a really amazing moment in gaming.”
Hartrell also said he would point to those numbers from Glu Mobile and the overwhelming number of Android-device owners that play games. Again, 900 million devices … three out of four Android owners play games.
But I suspect that the real thing keeping most developers from developing on Android — those that are still holding out — is those aforementioned revenue numbers. I shared that hunch with Hartrell, who said that was probably a fair statement but things are getting better.
“From a momentum perspective, compared to last year, we’re paying seven times the amount of revenue to app developers and game developers,” he said. That means more developers are making more money.
“In terms of what we’re doing next, the Play Store is supporting more countries. Developers can now sell apps in over 130 countries. Over half of Android users can now charge purchases directly to their mobile bill through carrier billing.”
Carrier billing allows cell-phone owners to purchase apps and other content from Google Play and charge it to their carrier. Their carrier will then add that cost to their next monthly bill. This payment method is extremely popular in international markets like Japan and Korea. This should help developers generate more revenue, but it’s unlikely this alone will close the gap.
Another big incentive is that Google Play Games services beefed-up its anti-piracy measures. Developers can use the tools to keep players from accessing certain features or the entire game if it doesn’t authenticate properly.
It’s up to developers to take advantage of that to protect their games.
For Google, its job is to continue improving Play Games services so that it does blossom into a flourishing social and multiplayer ecosystem.
“We’re going to continue to iterate to bring the best of Google to game developers,” said Hartrell. “From a principal standpoint, we’re going to focus on bringing players together wherever they happen to be.”(source:venturebeat)