Google's new Playables ad platform lets you try out games before you download them

Google has unveiled several strategies this week to help game developers sell their wares to Play Store shoppers, but now it’s looking to expand those efforts outside the app store as well. A new initiative will let developers who advertise their games with Google also allow users to try out the games, without being directed to download or install anything.

Announced at GDC today, Google is calling the new service Playables. According to a report by MediaPost, Sissie Hsiao, director of product management for mobile advertising, outlined the new venture, which utilize HTML5 to create fully playable versions of games right inside of ads. Google says Playables will being rolling out in the coming months.

Targeting mobile users, the ad format seems similar to the occasional Google Doodle that lets us play lightweight games right in our browsers. MediaPost says Playables will be compatible with campaigns built through Google Web Designer or third-party agencies, and is an effort to gain more qualified installs from users who try the game in the ad and chose to download it.

In addition to a limited, but still fully playable game experience, developers also have access to “a built-in auto-flip feature that uses machine learning technology to automatically orient the video ads to match the way users hold their phones,” MediaPost reports.

How it will play out: This isn’t just good for developers—it’s great for users too. Our phones are littered with games that we’ve downloaded, played once, and never launched again, and now we’ll be able to try out the latest craze with taking up any space on our phone. And it’ll help us discover new ones, too. It would be pretty great if Google could expand this concept beyond games, or bring it into the Play Store listing itself, but even in its current form, it’s a great idea. And while it’s only for ad purposes now, it portends a future along with Instant Apps and Progressive Web Apps where we don’t have to constantly worry about the storage on our phones.

IDG Insider


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