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25 δΈƒζœˆ 2022

Celebrating 10 years of Google Play. Together.

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Posted by Purnima Kochikar, VP of Partnerships, Google Play

This week we are celebrating ten years of Google Play. Over the past decade, your creativity combined with our investment in a global platform has created a thriving app ecosystem. 2.5 billion people in over 190 countries visit Play every month to connect with your apps and games, and Play has generated over $120 billion in earnings for developers to date. We’re so proud of this amazing milestone, and grateful for your partnership.

Looking back

I joined the team in 2012, only a few months after Google Play launched. At that time, active users on Android had just grown from 100 million to 400 million. Android was the new kid on the block, with the audacious goal of making mobile computing accessible to everyone, everywhere. You were understandably skeptical about our chances for success - we were so far behind competing platforms in most aspects, from platform features and tools to design guidelines and commercial capabilities. Our belief in the immense potential of a fair and open ecosystem - and, even more importantly, our belief in your limitless potential - made us push forward. We were and continue to be driven by our commitment to your success.

Back then, our tiny partnerships team of just six people was figuring out how we could best support you in navigating the opportunities and challenges of the mobile economy. There were so many uncertainties: would we be able to deliver the apps you were envisioning to a global audience on devices they can afford? Would people watch videos on the small smartphone screens, given the high cost of mobile data and low device capabilities? Would they be happy paying for mobile games, and feel safe doing so? Would people subscribe to in-app content in the same way that they did to physical goods like magazines and newspapers?

We were with you every step of the way, taking the time to understand your needs and find ways to help you build beautiful apps and games. We also invited our global community of users to help us evolve your apps and games together, supported by features like beta testing and staged rollouts, and the ability to reply to user reviews.

Some of my fondest memories from those early days are of working with companies who inspired us by dreaming up novel ways to harness the magic of mobile phones. They broadened our perspective of what is possible. Smule is one of those early partners who kicked off their success in the first couple of years of Play. They became one of the first of many to inspire my team, and share their story with the community:

As your apps gained traction and you aspired to convert them into sustainable global businesses, we bolstered our investments in our commerce platform to help you grow and manage your business. We added the most popular and effective forms of payment from around the world to ensure people could pay for your apps and games frictionlessly. We removed complexities associated with finding and integrating local payment, including access to 300+ local payment methods supported in 70 countries. We also evolved our platform to anticipate and support your business needs - going from premium to free-to-play and subscriptions business models - and now Google Play helps consumers transact safely and seamlessly in more than 170 markets.

We provided industry leading insights through our Play Console on the entire lifecycle of your app, from installs to Vitals and more, to help you manage your business effectively. I remember my entire team tearing up when Vincenzo Colucci, the founder of Smart Launcher, described how Play enabled him to live where he wanted to live - in Manfredonia, in the South of Italy, with his loved ones - and do what he loves to do - build apps that impact people around the world. His company also turned 10 years old this year.

At every step, you demanded more from us and inspired us to think more expansively. In response, our product and engineering teams built tools and capabilities that could support all the great things that you were doing. Your feedback has helped to shape the launch of new features, resources and programs to support your success on the platform. With your help, we have evolved:

We’ve also worked in partnership with several of you to create new features that would benefit the entire ecosystem. For example, in 2015, we worked with Supercell to help prevent fraud, leading to the launch of the Voided Purchases API, which drove industry-wide improvements to fraud and refund abuse. Similarly, our Japanese and Korean partners like GungHo Online Entertainment and NCSOFT helped us grow from a platform that supported pay-and-download games, like Rovio’s early Angry Birds, to becoming a LiveOps platform that supports games as a live service. Our media partners helped us evolve our subscriptions platform to include features such as Account Hold and Grace Period. Interestingly, we used these features to help our sports apps partners to hold on to their subscribers when the world went into lockdown.

While there are countless such examples in our decade-long partnerships, here are 10 of our most memorable launches from the last 10 years:

10 key launches from the decade

As your businesses matured, we invested in product capabilities such as Play Points to help you retain and re-engage your most loyal users. We are so proud that this program has over 100 million members in 28 countries, with further expansion scheduled for later this year. We also created a consulting service to provide business and technical insights to help you make more data driven decisions about your product roadmap and global expansion plans. You have told us that these insights have helped to drive millions in incremental revenues for you, and informed not only your product direction, but also your M&A strategies.

Above all, our partnership has brought meaningful apps and games to global audiences, and built successful businesses that have created new jobs and helped local economies. In the US alone, Play and Android have helped to create more than 2M jobs. We are truly proud of the economic impact we have had together on local communities and small businesses around the world.

Looking forward

As we look towards our next decade, it is useful to pause and reflect on the last two unprecedented years we have experienced together, and the overwhelmingly positive impact our partnership has had on the lives of so many people. Android and Play - powered by your businesses - have connected families and loved ones together, helped to keep people safe by supporting daily needs, sped up access to telemedicine, created employment, and enabled kids to learn and grow. Let’s take a moment to let that sink in.

These years have taught us important lessons about our joint responsibility to foster a safe and trusted ecosystem, and how much more needs to be done to make mobile accessible to everyone. As we think about the future, there are three areas which are top of mind of us:

  • Helping everyone, everywhere experience the value your apps bring, by helping you deliver better apps and games across devices and across screens. We are expanding the reach of our games to PCs through Play Games Services, surfacing the apps that are most relevant to a user through curated app subscriptions like Play Pass, and helping people to find the most interesting aspects of your apps through Play Offers and LiveOps.
  • Continuing to evolve our tools to support your business decision making, evolve our business models, and to help you safely grow your businesses and deliver the best quality experiences for your users in the evolving privacy and security landscape.
  • Building an ecosystem for everyone by investing in initiatives that improve representation in the apps and games industry, and by empowering more underrepresented founders to build successful businesses. Last year we moved beyond a “one size fits all” service fee model to ensure all types of businesses can be successful, and we will continue to have multiple programs designed to support our diverse app ecosystem.

The success of the founders who have gone through our Indie Game Festival and Accelerator programs, and the meaningful impact of our Change the Game initiative and of our accessibility efforts, make us optimistic about our ecosystem. We look forward to the next decade where we welcome many more founders like nine year old Alyssa and her mother who created Frobelles, a dress-up game increasing representation of African and Caribbean hair styles, to our #WeArePlay family.

Thank you for being an integral part of our audacious goal to make mobile accessible to everyone, everywhere. We have come a long way and we have a long way to go. We are inspired by and grateful for each one of you, and remain singularly committed to your success. We can’t wait to see what you will create next, and the new horizons you will drive us to explore and enable.

With gratitude,

Purnima Kochikar