How do I get my Android game featured on Google Play? [AMA]

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Kevin Ford

June 28th, 2013

Getting featured on Google Play is not an exact science. For most Android game developers, gettingfeatured is still very much a mystery. No one has completely cracked the nut.

Luckily, when you consult dozens of Android game developers, many of which have been featured on Google Play, you notice patterns. We asked the NativeX Games Task Force to share what they have learned about the process of getting featured on Google Play and what Android developers can do to improve the odds for their mobile games.

The NativeX Games Task Force provides highly specialized one-on-one consultation to NativeX partners, helping them increase the engagement, retention, and monetization of their F2P games.




How do I get my Android game featured on Google Play?

gtf-1 Nate Dykstra

Game and Monetization Consultant, NativeX Games Task Force
It’s no secret that having a go-to contact within the Google Play group is probably your best bet at getting featured. Sweetening that deal by sending them a nice gift (such as a bottle of wine and some chocolates) might not hurt either.

If you don’t have the luxury of such a contact, which most developers do not, then here are some of the best tips and tricks I can recommend to potentially get featured on Google Play based on what I’ve heard from other developers and the Developer Advocates at Google.

Let’s start with the basics. Ensure your game supports high resolution – presented in at least 720p. Also, never mess with or remove the default Android buttons on a screen. Specifically, the BACK button should pause a title when pressed during gameplay, show the options dialog or move to previous screen, and while pressing on the main menu of your game it should dismiss the app.

Be respectful and create a painless user experience. For instance, never play sounds while the device is locked and stop playing sounds immediately when paused or closed. Permission requirements should be minimal, as you’re not likely to be featured if the app changes the users wi-fi settings or reads/writes info such as contacts or calendars.

Some other basics include making sure your game or app is stable and reliable without any major bugs or crashes, obviously. This means testing your game on a wide range of popular devices and Android versions. Also, localizing the game into as many languages as possible will help.

Finally, never bribe your players with in-game rewards for five-star reviews! The Google Play Editorial Team considers this the worst possible offense and it guarantees you will never get featured. Developers are encouraged to ask for feedback and they’re allowed to reward users for providing feedback, but it’s not okay to set conditions demanding positive ratings.


gtf-4 Chris Harris

Game and Monetization Consultant, NativeX Games Task Force
A game developer’s competition is steep so getting featured on Google Play can be tricky. Start with the basics by making your game fun to play and as bug free as possible. Taking the time to fix bugs in the game will go further than you may think and will result in positive user reviews which can factor into getting featured.

Secondly, pack as many of Google’s products as you can into your game. Google has traditionally favored games, apps, websites, hardware, etc. that uses their products. Including Google+, Game Services, and Wallet into your game will boost your chances.

Finally, make your game available to as many users and devices as you can support. As a word of caution, supporting a bigger audience is more work than simply checking a box and a wave of negative reviews could destroy your chances. To get this right, you need to localize your game and Google Play page for the countries you’re supporting and optimize gameplay based on the latest hit Android devices (and all Nexus devices) and operating systems.


gtf-3 Trevor McCalmont

Games Analyst, NativeX Games Task Force
As far as I know, there’s not really a way to ensure you get featured on Google Play without knowing someone at Google. Following Google’s Design Guidelines helps, and supporting the latest devices and operating systems is important as well. Sometimes innovative gameplay or a new feature in a genre that is becoming quite popular can earn a feature for a developer. We’ve had partners lucky enough to get featured on Google Play, and the quality of the organic users was fantastic. We saw a 4900% increase in DAUs with strong engagement, retention, and monetization.

Interested in learning more about how to get featured on Google Play?

Submit your question to the NativeX Games Task Force on Twitter.

Kevin Ford

Marketing Manager


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