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Google Wants to Stop Awful Games From Flooding Its Online Store

Google Holds Press Event Announcing New ProductsGoogle Holds Press Event Announcing New Products

There are over 2 million Android apps on the Google Play online store, but that doesn’t mean that all of them are good.

Google said Monday at the annual Game Developer Conference in San Francisco that it’s debuting several features intended to better promote higher-quality games and distinguish them from the duds.

Although Google’s online store is filled with blockbuster mobile games like Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run, it’s also filled with cheap, knock-off versions of the hits built by developers to lure casual gamers who don’t know the difference.

For example, there’s currently a game on Google Play called Super Plumber Run, which has a similar gameplay to Nintendo’s Super Mario Run and stars a plumber baring a striking resemblance to Nintendo icon Mario.

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Google Play director of product management Paul Bankhead said the search giant has altered an algorithm for its online store so that apps that people play for long-periods of time are more prominently displayed. The algorithm change will reward apps that capture people’s attention based on high-quality gameplay rather than a “catchy icon” or graphic misleading a customer to download the app, Bankhead explained.

“We don’t think a user needs to download 20 games to find something they like,” Bankhead said of how the new feature will let people find better quality games.

Bankhead said Google is also creating gameplay videos, which users will be able to see next to the apps on the Google Play store. The videos are intended to show users what gameplay is really like, despite what marketing copy or promotional graphics may claim.

Google is also letting outside developers and companies create promotions for their games on Google Play, which Bankhead explained will help them “drive awareness” to their apps. When a company sets a promotion for a game involving a price cut, users will see the new price displayed alongside the old one, with a strikethrough noting the cost was discounted.

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The search company is also creating editorial pages for its online store that will promote games Google deems of higher quality. For example, Google will establish an editorial page dedicated to role-playing games, with an introduction to the genre as well as a list of “titles that earned our love and the reasons why we picked them,” Bankhead said.

The new editorial pages will debut on Google Play this spring.