We’ve all had one of those experiences, you purchase a game and then wait an eternity for it to install. There’s a number of reasons behind this, but a significant portion of that waiting is just for the delivery of the app assets to get it functioning. Google has set up a new way for developers to deliver the required assets dynamically, as your app needs them.
In Google’s blog post, the system is outlined:
To handle the unique needs of games, Play is introducing Play Asset Delivery, giving you dynamic delivery of the right game assets to the right devices at the right time at no additional cost. To achieve this, we extended the Android App Bundle publishing format by adding asset packs.
By dynamically creating and delivering these asset packs containing textures, sounds and other data heavy resources, your app can be updated level by level or at specific trigger points. This is all aimed at getting you gaming faster, minimising delays and frustration while improving the user experience. Assets will continue to receive updates through the Play Store to keep games up to date as they currently do.
Google detail how the system has already been utilised by a few studios already including Gameloft with some of their Asphalt Games.
Gameloft integrated Play Asset delivery into Asphalt 8, Asphalt Xtreme, and Minion Rush. Asphalt Xtreme was easy to switch from using APK expansion files to using PAD with install-time delivery. Asphalt 8 and Minion Rush both originally used a custom CDN, which Gameloft replaced with PAD. They were able to leverage fast-follow and on-demand delivery by replacing their custom CDN calls with calls to the PAD API. They saw the expected reduction in CDN costs, but with fast-follow delivery, they have also seen a significant increase in the number of users who completed the secondary download to start playing the game.
If you’ve ever had one of those long waits for a game to install, you’ll realise the enormity of this change. It’s going to result in better experience and engagement for users and potentially higher profits for our valued developers.