So you have developed the next great mobile app for Android and are ready to submit to Google Play. But now what?
Well, first you have to register for a Google Play account (which will incur a small, one off, lifetime fee). Once you have registered, it's easy to upload your application from the home screen of the Developer Console by selecting "Upload Applications." You will then be asked to fill in the following information for your app:
- APK file size: Maximum supported size is 50MB.
- Draft application .apk file: When you upload an .apk file, it can be saved as a draft while you edit the other aspects of the list.
- Please note that package names for app files are unique and permanent, so you are recommended to choose wisely. These names cannot be deleted or re-used in the future. Also bear in mind that if you've lost your keystore, you'll have to publish the app with a new package name and a new key.
- Screenshots: 2 screenshots are required. The additional 6 are optional.
- High-Resolution Application Icon: Required.
- Promotional Graphic: Optional.
- Feature Graphic: Optional.
- Promotional Video: Optional
Below is a list of the details that you will need to supply to the Google Play store when you first supply them with your app for publishing:
The language of your app.
|Default is US English|
The name of your application as you would like it to appear in Google Play.
|One per language|
The visible description of your application in Google Play
The recent changes feature provides an opportunity for you to add notes about the changes specific to the newest version of your application.
Text that accompanies your promotional graphic in featured spots in Google Play.
Choose which type of application you are uploading.
|"Applications" or "Games."|
The category in which your app will be placed. See here for more information.
Keep Your App Descriptions Concise
Sure, you can create a website that details all the great things your shiny new app does (and you probably should), but your app description is one of the few opportunities you have to do this from within the store. Keep in mind that many people will browse the store and read your description from their phone or tablet, so it is a good idea to keep it brief and highly scanable. Here are some other tips to make your description an app selling ninja:
- Briefly describe what your app does in the first two lines.
- Use 700 characters or less
- Avoid long blocks of text
- List key features
- Include user reviews and expert reviews once available
- Emphasize app’s simplicity and ease of use
While you are crafting prose, don’t forget to write your promo text for the Google Play Store. This text shows underneath your promo graphic on feature pages like their Editor's Choice page.
The next thing you will need are graphics for the app stores. These promotional images are used to represent your app in the stores, so take some time to make sure these look polished. In addition to the app icon, the Google Play Store allows you to provide two extra promotional graphics.
The App Icon:
512 x 512 px, 32-bit PNG, Max size 1024KB, Transparency allowed
Promo Graphic (Optional):
180 x 120 px, 24-bit PNG, No border, No Transparency
Feature Graphic (Optoinal)
1024 x 500 px, safe frame of 924 x 400 px, 24-bit PNG, No Transparency
Officially, Google says the promo and feature graphic are optional. You should consider them a requirement though. The feature graphic is required to get your app featured anywhere in their app store and greatly enhances your app page.
A Screenshot is Worth 1,000 Words
Excellent screenshots are another critical element of your app listing. The required number of screenshots is quite low but here again it pays to submit more. This is your best opportunity to show people what they can expect if they install your app.
|Google Play Store|
Show Your App In Action with Video
Videos are another great way to show people your app. With video you can quickly highlight your app’s top features. It’s also a good opportunity to show people how to use your app so they feel like experts before they've even installed it.
To submit a video to the Google Play Store you will need to first upload the video to YouTube and then provide its URL. Doing this will feature the video on your app details page under your screenshots. Google recommends a short video between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
Under the Google Play publishing options, you have two further sections to fill out:
- Copy protection: Copy protection may help prevent applications from being copied from a device, however it increases the amount of memory on the phone required to install the application. As Google Play are expected to deprecate copy protection soon, if you have a paid application, it is recommended that you implement the Google Play licensing service. if you use this then the License code that you are given will need to be added into your app in the GameMaker:Studio Global Game Settings, and the Licencing check-box flagged.
- Locations: These are the locations in which you may distribute your applications.
- Not all locations listed currently have users with Android-powered devices.
- You may select locations one-by-one or choose the "All current and future locations" option. This option means that, as we add more distribution locations, these locations will be enabled for your app. Bear in mind that the US Government may block some of these locations.
Please note that at the time of writing this, you may only sell applications to users in specific locations around the world (for a complete list of countries, please see here).
There are also a series of extra options related to which devices your game can be downloaded and visible on, as not all devices (even if they do meet the minimum specifications for a GameMaker:Studio game) are compatible due to the varied nature of the Android platform and the configurations of some older devices. The options are as follows:
- Supported Devices: The Device Availability dialogue allows you to understand which devices can find your app in Google Play and filter problematic or non-compatible devices.
- Understand which devices can find your app in Google Play
Device Availability provides a dynamic list of compatible devices based upon your manifest settings. For example, if your apk’s manifest specifies a large screen size, the console will reflect the supported devices that can find your app in Google Play.
You can also use the dynamic search feature to see the devices that your application will not be available to. You can search by manufacturer, the design name (E.g. “Passion”), or the actual public device name (E.g. "Nexus One"), to see if your manifest settings filtered a device.
- Filter problematic or non-compatible devices
This feature provides a device-specific administration option to developers. When you add a device to the “Manually Excluded Devices” list, your app will not be available to that excluded device in Google Play.
This is primarily intended to help developers provide the best user experience possible, by helping developers filter out devices known to have compatibility problems. For example, GameMaker games require a device with a GPU to run, so devices like the original HTC Wildfire have to be excluded as, although they run Android 2.1, they do not have a GPU.
YoYo Games as a publisher currently excludes the following devices from their games for the above reasons and it is highly recommended that you do the same to prevent negative comments or errors:
HTC EVO Design C715e(kingdom)
myTouch 3G Slide(espresso)
For your app to be accepted, you must pick at least one support channel for your app:
This information is viewable to users from Google Play and provides a valuable service for you to get feedback on your app, as well as providing a means for your clients to get help should there be any problems. Note that you may choose more than one of the available options.