Building a good, profitable game these days is more challenging than ever. Players are more demanding, business models require more creativity (at least they should), and there are plenty of competitors that are just as desperate to hold the attention of players for as long as possible. Since users are all over the world and generally don't point a camera at themselves while they play, the hardest part is actually figuring out what works and doesn't work for them. Google Play Games is trying to help with that by launching some very informative tools that can help make player behavior a little easier to understand.

Reports

Google is adding to the reporting features introduced back in March at GDC, which included tracking for things like player retention, performance benchmarks, and progression through the game. The new analytics tools include a very detailed "time series explorer" which can be used to identify events for players like what happens when they begin playing, at which point they reach certain goals, when they spend money, and what events can cause them to leave the game. The chart is interactive and allows for some different queries to further tune the results. There is also an Events Viewer tool that can show an overview of how many users are engaging and succeeding in contests and other events.

Player Stats API

Once developers have a good grasp of what players are doing, they need to further craft the experience to keep them engaged and offer the best experience to each type of player. The new Player Stats API is designed around this concept. Based on player progression, spending habits, and engagement, it can be used to provide more customized experiences for users. Google gives a few examples, such as rewarding players for recruiting new people if they spend a lot of time in the game but don't spend much money, or helping players that aren't doing well by offering to show them videos and guiding them to community features.

Repeating Quests

Quests play an important role in keeping players engaged over the long term. While Play Games makes them very powerful and easy to run, many developers have complained about having to constantly create and schedule new quests. Google is now adding support for automatically repeating quests. They can now be set to recycle on a weekly or monthly schedule, with either a set number of occurrences, an end date, or simply until they are manually disabled.

Most of these new features will be launching separately over the next few weeks. The new reports should be due out this week, with the Player Stats API and Repeating Quests coming later.