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Google Play Games adds gifting and more from GDC2014



GDC2014The 2014 Game Developers Conference is underway in San Francisco and this is no small meet-up. We’re talking 23,000 designers and executives from around the globe coming together to swap ideas and expand their horizons.

Our friends a MillennialMedia are hosting a panel called “The Great Debate: Monetizing With In-App Purchases, Pay-for-Download or Advertising.” There’s a session called “Why’d She Buy THAT? Customer Psychology in Game Purchases” and you don’t want to miss “Facebook Unlocked: Trends & Growth Opportunities for Cross-Platform Games (Presented by Facebook)”.

Even if you’re not in the game industry, a lot of what’s happening there is related to what’s happening in mobile and online marketing. Think about it. Every mobile or online game is like a mini-business with its own profit and loss sheet. You have to market the game, create customer loyalty, then convince those people to spend on up-grades and in-app purchases.

Google Play Games wants to help with that. They just announced a new gifting program that can help expand engagement and game discovery.

The new “game gifts” program lets players send virtual in-game objects to anyone in their circle or anyone they can locate using player search. They’ve also made it easier to invite new players to join the game and they’ve added 18 new game categories so its easier for players to find games they like.

Google also made some important upgrades to their in-game advertising interface AdMob:

Of course, once you build a great gaming experience, it’s important to get rewarded for your work, which is why we’ll also be introducing new features to the AdMob platform. We’re making Google Analytics available directly in the AdMob interface, so you can gain deeper insights into how users are interacting with your app. Turning those insights into effective action is vital, so we’re excited by the opportunities that in-app purchase ads will offer — enabling you to target users with specific promotions to buy items in your game. Advertising continues to be a core vehicle driving many game developers’ success, so we’re also bringing you new ways to optimize your ads to earn the most revenue.

It’s all about behavorial targeting, baby. That’s a concept we can all get behind.

It may be all about games, but it’s not all just fun at GDC. There are a number of panels devoted to social and gender issues, games for the disabled, and the ramifications of controversial themes in games. On the hardware side, there will be a lot of talk about 3-D and virtual reality as well as some new concepts in game controls such as the Star Wars-esque holographic chess game from Voxiebox.

All of this sounds very intriguing and exciting and I’m sure they’re going to make some majorly important strides in the game industry. But if I was there right now – here’s where you’d find me.

 

 

Oh great geeky joy joy.