Games can be big and cellular connections can be slow. Rather than have users download the complete package upfront, Google has long supported a system for installing a base APK initially and then using APK Expansion Files to download the rest of the content at launch. That came with its own downsides, though. Now, Google has rolled out a new system dubbed Play Asset Delivery, first announced earlier this year, that promises to make the entire experience much more seamless for both users and developers.
Play Asset Delivery provides dynamic delivery of the right game assets to the right devices at the right time. In order to make this dream a reality, the Android team has extended the Android App Bundle publishing format with asset packs. These asset packs contain non-code elements like textures and sounds, and they are delivered through the Play Store with large size limits perfect for games.
Developers can customize how and when each pack is sent to a device, providing more flexibility for developers and a less frustrating experience for gamers—no more waiting for that never-ending loading bar when you first launch a game! An added benefit of Play Asset Delivery is that Google Play handles updating the assets of large games. When an app updates, it will include the newest assets so that users won't have to wait for resources to download each time.
In its blog post, Google highlights several studios that saw success in utilizing Asset Delivery during the testing period. Gameloft integrated it into three of its games and saw a reduction in custom CDN costs (since the Play Store now handles delivery) and a big increase in the number of users who kept playing through the full game download. In the end, it delivered 10% more new players compared to their previous asset delivery system. RV AppStudios started using it across their wide range of apps and games and saw an increase in 15-day retention and a reduction in crashes.
Play Asset Delivery is available now to all developers, though, it could take time to make it into your favorite games.
If you're an end user who likes to sideload some of their games, these changes will affect you, too. Our sister site APK Mirror has built an installer for bundled apps like the ones you'll see take advantage of Play Asset Delivery. Find it on the Play Store or APK Mirror today.
Edited by Jules Wang.