Last year, Google hosted the first Indie Games Festival in San Francisco. This was a developer competition which highlighted high-quality, innovative and fun Android games released in the preceding year. Now, in preparation for the second year of the festival, Google has opened submissions for developers based in the US and Canada.
The terms of qualification are the same as last year’s contest. Each participating team must have 15 or less members, and games must have been released at some point last year. Google will announce the winners of the competition in September, ahead of the Indiecade conference in October. Each finalist will get their chance to demo their game at the event and compete for the top three spots. Google has not announced the prizes of this year’s Indie Games Festival. However, last year’s prizes included depth-sensing Tango hardware, tickets to this year’s Google I/O, and ad space in the Google Play Store. Submission ends on August 6.
The Indie Games Festival is just one of Google’s game developer initiatives. In March, for example, Google announced Indie Corner, which is a section of the Play Store featuring a new, regularly updated collection of hand-picked titles. Also, at the 2017 I/O Developer Conference, Google announced some tools aimed at boosting the visibility of apps in the Play Store. These tools include an algorithm that pushes out titles based on user engagement and new Play Store pages curated by Google editors. One such feature, which temporarily lists paid apps for free on the Play Store, was reported to have generated up to a 20x increase in installs during promotions, and this trend continued even after the sales ended.
Google supports indie developers so much due to competition from Apple. iOS apps tend to make more money than Android apps, and the iOS App Store brings in as much as 75 percent more revenue than the Google Play Store. However, there is still hope for Android developers. In an analysis of foreign app stores by Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi, Huawei and others, collective Android app revenue is expected to overtake iOS as soon as 2021.