Fireside chat: Looking into 2020 and beyond (Playtime 2019)

SHANNON LOW: Welcome back from the break, everyone This is the homestretch I know it’s been quite a long, tiring day But I also hope it’s been very valuable for everybody My name is Shannon Low And I head up the apps and games business development team for EMEA And joining me today are Purnima and Tian, our business and product leaders for Play I’m going to call this our comfy sofa chat It’s not quite fireside Because from what I hear from a bit of feedback today, this is not quite a very warm room So comfy sofa it is You heard both Purnima and Tian speak earlier today already Now, we’d like to get a bit deeper into their heads, learn more about how they’ve been thinking about Play, the past, present, and the future So thank you very much for joining us, Purnima and Tian Maybe we start by learning a bit more about your personal backgrounds Can you tell us a bit more about your backgrounds and journeys before Play? TIAN LIM: Oh, Purnima, please PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Oh, here I get drafted I have always been a geek And I did math and computer science in school When I was in college I came across a local business person who was going to start a computer institute for data processing and training And I went and pitched him to say that I could run it For some reason, he agreed And so my first job was to teach programming in C++ and Pascal So I date myself a bit, when I was still in college And then a guy came into the office to get his transcripts processed to the United States We got into an argument And I thought he was interesting enough to follow him here or there So that’s how I got to the US And worked for Bell Atlantic, which is a telecom company, as a software engineer And then went to business school And then spent several years at Nokia, and did some startups in between And Google found me on Google because I was a talking head for developers at Nokia towards one of my roles And Google called to say, Jamie Rosenberg really liked what you said And I was trying to be very cool to say, where did he find what I said? I was trying to Google it to try to figure out what I said And so all I’m saying is I’ve always enjoyed what I do, that is working for large platforms, and enabling innovation and ecosystems So that’s my story TIAN LIM: Wow She’s always a tough act to follow PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: I asked you to go first [LAUGHS] TIAN LIM: She knows it too Quick, interesting factoid, cause we don’t get to ask Shannon this So I can tell you some stuff about Shannon I didn’t meet this guy until two years ago But it turns out, we actually grew up together In Singapore, in the same school, I was a couple years ahead of him We lived a mile apart, thereabouts But it took us this crazy 30-ish years to finally meet So I started out in Singapore, went to college Carnegie Mellon, math, computer science, got a masters in operating systems I was going to do a PhD But it turns out doing a PhD in operating systems is a really bad idea Do you know how long it takes to build an operating system? PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: 20 years TIAN LIM: Right So bad idea But luckily, a guy from Nintendo rescued me He just spammed our research alias and said, hey, who wants to write an operating system for a game console? Yeah I’ll do that So I helped build the GameCube, the Xbox 360, and the Playstation 4, ran technology at Hulu, and then I ended up at Google SHANNON LOW: Amazing So yeah We were practically neighbors But we never saw each other And I’m very glad we reconnected over Play PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: I was the cause SHANNON LOW: And she was the cause This is why all three of us are sitting here today Thank you, Purnima So let’s start by looking back on 2019 To both of you, what were some of the big successes you saw in 2019? TIAN LIM: So for me, as I said at the keynote, I think Play Points really surprised us I think we generally think that a rewards program would be a good idea Yes But I think we were really shocked at how successful it ended up being I talked a lot about trust and safety I talked a lot about bad news But I guess I should talk about some good news there too Over the past year we’ve been sampling policy compliance across the store And it turns out that this has been our best year for policy compliance, at least from a content perspective And I think that’s contributed to a slight decrease in kind of the bad content PR that we tend to get

Now what happens is that researchers and journalists are digging deeper And they’re finding ad click stuff And that’s generally harder to find But that’s our next frontier for the battle SHANNON LOW: There was a big challenge for us over the year But we made our way through it There’s still more work to be done But also, thank you to all of you developers for helping us achieve that PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Oh, for me, it was emerging markets becoming a real opportunity I know you guys heard [? Zuza ?] talk about some of the data, and what we saw with [? Garino ?] and PubG For the longest time at Google we’ve always been saying, the next billion users and that emerging markets is real But we really saw that if you actually tailor your software or your game for emerging markets, rather than build it for developed markets and force fit it for emerging markets, that there is real money to be made, real businesses to be built And that was exciting I was also very excited Maybe the other side of trust and safety is for developers really focusing on sustainable engagement with the end users and sustainable growth, which means that we saw the growth of subscription models We talked about Play Pass earlier today, which is also our foray into subscriptions that is a play on subscription But seeing how people think of subscription both in apps and games was exciting SHANNON LOW: We saw a lot of evolution, both in markets, in engagement models, healthier evolution, and also business models for everybody What were some of the unexpected trends you saw in 2019? TIAN LIM: Well, for me, I don’t know what I expected But I think every week brought some new challenge So I can’t say that was a trend But everything was unexpected in my opinion PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: I think, one of the things– I know Tian said this, but one of the awesome and challenging things of working with folks like you is that you’re constantly taking what we build as a platform, which is a blank canvas, and creating things we never expected And so you challenge us So, for example, lots of high fidelity games coming into Android may not have been unexpected But how much you push the platform was unexpected Right? And seeing how much more work we had to do to make high fidelity games working on it was unexpected A certain level of sophistication I really saw people really taking a segmented view to how they think about users, rather than think about just everybody is the same And I think that kind of nuance And our conversation with you guys, I think, also got a little bit more textured, with growth consulting, et cetera So we got to learn a lot more So it was exciting to see how you would think about your games, or apps, how you would think about your user journeys, and how much we have to work together to keep pace SHANNON LOW: Yeah So quite a bit of that evolution in terms of sophistication as well that we’re seeing in the ecosystem And personally, I think, one of the big parts about the role that we do, the jobs that we do is seeing the kind of innovation that comes out of all of you That’s just incredibly inspiring All right? So please, keep that going And we want to continue supporting you in that way Here’s a bit of a tricky question What do you think we could have done differently in 2019? PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: This is like existential crisis now You want to go first? Or I can go first TIAN LIM: I get to say this cause I wasn’t here a couple years ago SHANNON LOW: Not his fault [LAUGHTER] TIAN LIM: A couple years ago I certainly wish we had started down the trust and safety journey a little sooner, instead of having to feel like we’ve crammed a lot of homework into the past year But yeah I wish we’d started earlier That’s it PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Yeah I totally agree I also think that we may not have done such a good job of communicating the decisions we were making If I could look back, I think we could simplify a lot We could be a lot more clearer I do want to say, some things we did well is that we actually provided a lot of notice How many of you actually know what your contact information is on the Play Console? Can I see a show of hands? Do you know that you receive all the notifications and emails that come from Play? And you guys are, of course, a select few You are here because we know you guys really well That’s not true for most people So if you have friends, communities, et cetera, please tell them to keep their contact information up And so one of the things that for us I think we did poorly is a lot of our messages that went out actually didn’t reach developers And then people got surprised And we heard it through people tweeting or writing Medium blogs I’m sure you can see things written to me directly saying that you took down my app and I didn’t know about it We could have had a much different conversation And to be honest, some of those apps

have actually really bad behavior And if you could talk about it, we could have shown it But we could have done a lot better job TIAN LIM: But some really good apps got taken down too And they would hit us up on LinkedIn or any way they could So again, I think that’s partly due to the fact that we crammed a lot into this year So again, we know it’s something that we have to get better at SHANNON LOW: And could you share a little bit more of how Google is improving communications to developers on these policy changes? PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Yeah I can go first And then Tian can add First and foremost, one of the things– I mean, you know that when we did SMS and call log policy change, we realized how limited our world view was of what people use SMS and call log for And we thought when we send this out and said that we want people to use SMS and call log permissions only when they absolutely need it, when it’s the primary purpose of the app, we thought we knew all the primary purposes, all the use cases And we were not even in the ballpark Do you know that John Deere uses SMSes from the tractor to communicate to farmers? The tractor communicates That’s kind of cool Right? We discovered these things There was two factor authentication in Indian banks that happened through SMSes We learned a lot So what has that done for us? First and foremost, I think we are engaging early and more closely with a much more diverse group of developers to understand the use cases Second, we are making sure that we are providing clearer guidance, but longer time Third, if you haven’t seen, there is the Academy of App Success, which is an online place where you can go So we’re going to put a lot of the information there In terms of training, if you have larger teams that need to understand, they can go, get trained And then lastly– this is in the works, not happened yet– we are going to update our policy center, revamp it, take out the legalese, talk English And other languages But talk human Maybe talk human on the policy center TIAN LIM: Just to give you some sense of the challenge with SMS call logs, I think our product managers had to sift through something like 40,000 or 50,000 appeals and assess each use case individually So it was definitely an interesting challenge For location, I think we’re going to do a much better job And I think people will find it a lot more reasonable Purnima hinted at it She’s talked about the new policy center that we’re thinking about But you’re going to see some dramatic changes in the Play Console over the coming year And a lot of it is geared towards being able to communicate more frequently and more prominently to the community So in general, I just hope that we can reach you much more effectively SHANNON LOW: So look out for these things We hope they’ll be very helpful to you But also remember to make sure your contact info is up to date in the console Let’s look forward to 2020 now Tian, from the product perspective, can you share with us some of the broad themes and problems we are working to solve in 2020? TIAN LIM: So I’m going to sound a bit like a broken record, but unfortunately, we have to have a continued focus on trust and safety in general You’ve heard us talk a bit more about SDKs today And you’ve seen us enforce a lot more intensely over the past few months So that’s an area that we care deeply about and continue to improve We talked about integrity, anti piracy, and things that we’re going to do there to help protect your IP more effectively I think we’ve seen that in some of the developer surveys for years now maybe But we really want to take it seriously and take action there More broadly, we want to take Play Points and Play Pass global We also want to be able to make the Store a better place to discover and continue to drive traffic So you notice over the past year, we redesigned the entire store We’re dramatically increasing the diversity of things that people see So it’s no longer just a wall of icons You’re actually seeing more screenshots, more videos You’re going to hear, over the coming months, different ways in which you can effectively upload better metadata to help drive more discovery in the store So not only do users benefit They have a much more interesting story to visit But all you should benefit as well with additional merchandising opportunities SHANNON LOW: And Purnima, what are some of the headwinds and opportunities you see coming to the ecosystem in 2020? PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Opportunities first I’m always an optimist I am super excited I know I touched upon segmentation I’m super excited about hybrid business models

I see apps which have been traditionally subscription based, experimenting with micro payments Like newspapers are really thinking about unique information and data that you can pay as a micro payment to buy I see games adding subscriptions, doing much more thinking in a nuanced way, what do my users need? And how can I cater to that? So I’m super excited about going down that journey A couple years ago we made a massive, big bet in terms of really taking all of Play data, because we sit on a massive platform, to say, what insights do we get? We call it growth consulting We have right now– and many of you have participated So thank you We couldn’t have done it without your input to see what works, what doesn’t work And you’ve attended sessions here by Adam, Alyssa, and several others to really provide those insights And I think we’ll go deeper with those insights We have been providing [INAUDIBLE] benchmarks, peer benchmarks, et cetera, but we’re going to go deeper I’m excited about the fact that we’re now going to also bring the rest of Google into this So recently in Korea when NCSoft needed to go to Southeast Asia, it was new for them Because Korea is a very different market than Southeast Asia We brought our Google counterparts who can think about the user side of it How do you optimize the UA campaign for Southeast Asia? How do you think about user insight? How are people playing gaming in Southeast Asia? And we brought our team, who can understand game design and game economy, et cetera, together, to really think about how to drive that We usually try with one or two partners But we are going to do a lot more about having very structured ways of taking user and developer insights as you think of expanding globally So that that is in terms of the opportunity In terms of headwind, any time you think about a scaled approach, and you’re thinking about new audiences, there’s always going to be headwind Right? When you’re going into a new market like in India, people talked about it When there’s no memory, people are uninstalling your app or game Trust and safety When you talk about it, these are all headwinds that you will have to keep pace with All we can promise is that we will make our darnedest best to keep up with whatever the headwinds are, to give you the solutions and the information early And we just say, please engage with us Give us feedback And know that those deadlines are real Because a lot of times, so much of my team’s work is somebody turning around and saying, I really didn’t think that deadline was real And I haven’t done it Or I haven’t complied And we then have to figure out how to help you last minute So I think there will be trust and safety headwinds, as always There’s going to be challenges as you go into markets where networks are not as great, devices are not as great But these are real opportunities And we will help you get there TIAN LIM: Yeah I think the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem is still obviously a really big challenge That’s an area that’s both an opportunity and challenge But that’s an area that we are going to focus on in the coming year as well So obviously, we have so much reach with Android We want to make more of that reach actually real for all of you So you should see more capabilities around devices, getting insights around devices in the different markets, or devices that you didn’t think you could reach, but actually, we’re pretty sure your app could run extremely well on Those are the sorts of things that I think we hope to bring to the console in the coming year SHANNON LOW: And Purnima, you mentioned emerging markets a couple times earlier, with the example of India as well That’s also a theme we’re hearing from a lot of developers, the interest in these markets We used to call them– we do, to some degree, call them next billion users, but many people there are telling us, it’s not the next billion anymore It’s the now billion They’re all there They’re all ready How is Play planning to help developers reach, engage, and convert new users and buyers in emerging markets in 2020 and beyond? PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: As with everything, I think you should really think of understanding who your audience is I always tell people, there’s emerging markets and there’s emerging markets Right? There is a large audience in India or in Indonesia, et cetera, who behave exactly like that, in Amsterdam, or San Francisco, or Singapore So you have to understand who you go after One question I always ask people, are you Starbucks or are you McDonald’s? Starbucks, for example, goes to all countries around the world and says, if you can afford a $5 coffee, you come to me They don’t do localized pricing They don’t do any of it And then there’s McDonald’s who goes out there and creates vegetable burgers in India, because they don’t eat beef And then they do localized pricing, et cetera You have to know your audience And you have to know who you’re going after That’s number one And realizing that this next billion users or now billion users is not one blob So segmentation, as I keep talking about,

is very important Once you get past that, you have to understand that even in those markets, despite the ability to buy, and the disposable income even, there are some nuances of how they respond to things And that’s very important Like, for example, when we’ve been down the path of trying to figure out forms of payments, we realized that forms of payments was cultural It was an interesting insight It wasn’t that credit cards were for rich people and cash payments was for poor people That wasn’t the case at all It turns out the Germans trust PayPal Who knew? More than credit cards Right? Carrier billing is a very popular thing in Japan, because NTT Docomo had a lot of services there So understanding how they buy, why they buy, when they buy– now, I know Adam’s done multiple presentations on this If you are a carrier billing customer, first of the month is when your carrier billing balance is re-upped So if you don’t hit those first of the month things, then your stuff doesn’t really take off So if you are running live ops, you might as well run it at the first of the month, or around that time Whereas in the United States, most people play on weekends So understanding who your users are, what they do, and how they do matters across the world It is especially true in emerging markets, because networks are not that great, devices are not that great, and you heard at length about all the things we’re doing with ad bundles and dynamic delivery, et cetera So there’s lots of tools we’re going to provide TIAN LIM: Yeah I think, in general, what we can do is play to help you succeed in those emerging markets Forms of payment she touched on I think the vast majority of the new paying users that we brought on board from the emerging markets came from delivering the forms of payment that the population wanted to use And some of these things are somewhat counterintuitive to us in the Western world It’s also a really key reason that you should all be considering integrating the new billing library, if you haven’t already It enables things like deferred transactions with cash payments I’ve seen the flows And when you look at the flows, you’re like, why would anyone put themselves through that pain to make an online payment But that’s what some of these cultures do And it’s what the billing library enables us to accomplish So that’s one thing that we do We want to light up the right forms of payment in these markets I don’t know if you’re aware, but because the network infrastructure isn’t as strong, a lot of apps proliferate through peer to peer sharing And that’s good in terms of getting the bits out there But it’s not so good in terms of being able to keep contact with those users or keep those apps up to date So one of the things that we lit up over this past year was the ability for, if they’re sharing an official Play APK, then even though it was shared to me through a peer to peer app, as soon as I connect to the net, play can keep it updated So we’re expanding your realistic reach in these countries as well SHANNON LOW: OK TIAN LIM: Oh, sorry One last thing Yeah Because as you mentioned about McDonald’s, the other thing we’ve noticed is that people don’t always know how to set the right prices in the different markets And I think that’s something that we can probably do in a much more scaled fashion through the console PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: And if I could add very quickly, if you don’t know, the easiest thing to do is to actually think about a starter pack You don’t have to change everything in your app or game Because you can always price a starter pack a certain way, and you can test it out SHANNON LOW: Yeah That’s really good practical advice, definitely Another big theme that we’re also seeing many developers, especially game developers interested in is esports And Tian, I know that’s an area that you’re also quite interested in and keen on personally Where do you see mobile esports heading in 2020 and beyond? And what role could Google Play have in that world? TIAN LIM: So I don’t think we’ve really scratched the surface of mobile esports in general We see the rise of more casual esports, where there are lots of contests for casual games One interesting thing that I don’t know the Western world saw much of was the PubG Mobile Stars Tournament over the summer? Anyone see that in general? Yeah You don’t count, Sam PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: You don’t count, Sam TIAN LIM: So this was a very specialized partnership that I think only Google could have accomplished We brought YouTube creators We worked with an external party to help create a YouTube reality show type thing for a PubG tournament And I thought the format was very unique,

and highlighted some of the unique things that Google can bring to the table Imagine if we are able to do things like layer in Play Points, or loot drops from engagement with these YouTube episodes So I think there’s all kinds of opportunities to really link up mobile games and esports SHANNON LOW: Yeah Loot drops Segmenting users into players, viewers, and streamers There’s so many things that you can be doing Please, go ahead and experiment Give us feedback on what you want to try out And we can see how we can work with you around these things We’re always looking for new ideas Because this is a new space for us as well Now, I want to look out at the horizon, three to five years out Not a very far horizon, but far enough for many of our companies like ourselves How might the app model evolve in future, Tian? There’s a lot of talk about streaming games, instant apps But mobile web is still here What do you think is the future of the install? And how should developers plan for that future? TIAN LIM: Yeah I think for mobile in particular, the install is just not going away You just heard us talk a lot about emerging markets, where we know the network infrastructure is just not solid enough to deliver streamed content, and certainly not streamed games at high enough quality and low enough latency And even if that were the case, it’s not entirely sure it’s economically viable for mobile free to play titles So that’s it I think we believe that the install will continue to exist What you see us doing– you can kind of see it in everything that Kobe and [? Molena ?] talked about when it comes to App Bundle, is that we’re going to reduce the latency between a consumer deciding they want to install an app and their ability to actually run it So you’re going to see us shrink that latency down to almost nothing over the coming years, and certainly into future versions of Android So watch that evolution Because we know that the more we reduce that latency, the higher your conversion is SHANNON LOW: And Purnima, how do you see business models for apps and games evolving in the future? PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: I think I touched upon some of this in terms of hybrid business models I also believe that there is going to be something to do with more people doing it together Models that come around because of that We are already seeing startings of that I’m going to forget the name In China, one of the companies that became a multi-billion dollar company in the shortest period of time– it’s actually an ex Googler I forget the name Jet lag Sorry We’ll get you guys the name But they have done basically the ability– if 50 people want to buy a toaster, then you get a better price because the 50 people have come together saying that they want to buy it SHANNON LOW: [? InTotal. ?] PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Yes SHANNON LOW: [? InTotal ?] is the name of the app PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Yeah OK Thank you And I think even when you think about apps or games, I think there will be something to be said about communities coming together to do things I think community models will be interesting I don’t even think we have scratched the surface of multiplayer gaming I think it’s going to be massive multiplayer gaming, especially if 5G networks and Wi-Fi is going to be everywhere There’s going to be massive ability for us to visualize things in multi-modal ways And so the business models for those wouldn’t even have been figured out Right? I just said this joint purchasing as one example But I think there’ll be people coming together towards a thing will start becoming interesting Maybe people coming together and creating interactive media would be also interesting We are also already seeing things in Netflix, et cetera, to see how TV and gaming is coming together in some ways It’s becoming more interactive But what if lots of people can get user generated content? I just see like the massive multiplayer thing applying to many more verticals TIAN LIM: And I think it’s going to be an amazing opportunity, but it’s also going to bring brand new challenges that I don’t think people were ready for in general Already I think there’s a challenge when you have such a strong community aspect to your current games And having a smooth onboarding experience for new players into these cliques is extremely tricky So finding ways to assimilate new players in a really, really nice way is going to be challenging And then moderation is going to be super hard How do you maintain thriving communities while avoiding the polarization or isolation that can happen as a consequence? So I think it’s going to be just a greenfield there SHANNON LOW: But it will be a very interesting three to five years, and beyond, I think, across Play and the ecosystem PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: Yeah It is always going to be interesting And you know that anything we say three to five years out

is going to be wrong TIAN LIM: It’s completely worthless SHANNON LOW: There we go PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: With that in mind Because if I knew three to five years, how do you think I’ll be sitting here? SHANNON LOW: Uh-huh PURNIMA KOCHIKAR: So I would be going and investing myself But these are the trends we see SHANNON LOW: Well, there you have it You’ve heard it here first from our business and product leadership at Play With that, thank you very much, Purnima and Tian for joining us in that very enlightening conversation [APPLAUSE] TIAN LIM: Thank you