Last month, Google hired games industry veteran Mark DeLoura to be its “Developer Advocate” for games, and acquired game and widget developer LabPixies. On Tuesday, TechCrunch spotted a Google job posting for “Product Management Leader, Games.”
I can only speculate what Google is planning, but a push to make Android a more prominent gaming platform is long overdue. Here are a few ways Google can make it happen:
Copy Apple, straight-up: Games are the dominant type of app on the iPhone and iPad, and Apple has taken the hint. Come OS 4, the iPhone will unify its games with Game Center, a layer of social networking and matchmaking features akin to Xbox Live. That’s a good step for any games platform to take, so why not Google?
Forget “Developer Advocate,” hire a “Gamer Advocate”: As long as Google’s mimicking Apple, one way the folks in Mountain View can do better is to hire a community manager, someone who can put a public face on Google’s gaming efforts and organise special events and giveaways. These gamer-developer liaisons are all the rage among the big publishers and console makers, and given the culture in Cupertino, there’s no way Apple’s going to do this.
Make Flash Gaming a Priority: Whether you loved or hated Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Flash,” there’s no denying that Flash was not designed for the touch screen. That’s not such a problem for video or other content that uses simple clicking, but gamers are going to want access to Kongregate, Miniclip and other Flash game sites. Keyboard and rollover input figure prominently into Flash games, so Google would be wise to find a solution.