Google makes bigger play for licensing fees from games

Google is showing off new tools at this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco as it seeks to boost licensing fees from games.
Google is showing off new tools at this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco as it seeks to boost licensing fees from games.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google on Monday unveiled new tools for game developers, days after opening Maps to create location-based online games, challenging technology rivals including Amazon for a bigger slice of the industry.

Google is showing off the tools at this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco as it seeks to boost licensing fees from games, which dominate Google's Play store.

Amazon and Facebook are also holding workshops for developers at the conference as they vie for increased advertising and licensing revenue.

The number of users of Google's Android smartphones and mobile devices who installed a game in the last year more than doubled over the previous year, Google said on Monday.

It has traditionally made money on gaming by selling advertisements, taking a cut of in-game purchases or hosting data.

"Everything we've done on Play and Android to support game developers is being extended to several Google products," Ms Purnima Kochikar, who leads business development for Google's Play app store, said.

The new features include a way for Android users to try apps without a complete download. Last week, Google's cloud division released a service for developers to set up fast connections between players across the world. Google also said game developers would be able to use customised renderings and other data from Maps inside games.

For example, a game emulating the 2016 hit Pokemon Go, which requires people to visit real-world locations, can purchase up-to-date data from Google on places that are safe to send people to and are popular or off-the-beaten-path.

Upcoming mobile games based on entertainment franchises such as The Walking Dead and Ghostbusters have incorporated the technology.