Just about 5 minutes ago I hit the Play Store on my device to check and see there were any updates that I might have missed. There was one in there for Google Shopper and Flipboard. Might do a sepperate post about the Flipboard updates, but it isn’t all that major. Honestly, the update for Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation isn’t all that spectacular either. It offers up some optimizations related to stability and multiplayer mode. So if you have been having some issues, you might want to snag the update.

What got me going and why felt it warranted a dedicated post, is the fact that Gameloft is now using Google Expansion Files. If that makes zero sense to you, you aren’t the only one. So I went and looked it up.

Traditionally an app, or APK, isn’t capable of being over 50MB’s on the Play Store. This particular size has been slowly increasing over the years, but still limits some of what can be done. In the case of many Gameloft games, EA games and other game manufacturers, 50MB’s just isn’t enough to produce a high-quality game. That is where we see a smaller APK size and after installation we are prompted to download the additional assets from the companies servers. This can be a cost burden on the company and any developer who has to host their files separately from the Play Store due to size. NOt to mention the consumer who might being attempting to get a game installed, but runs into server issues or a slow download speed.

Google has a solution that I am sure many of you never knew about. I know we certainly didn’t until now. It is called APK Expansion Files, or Google Expansion Files. This option will let developers, like Gameloft, house the necessary assets through Google and the Play Store rather than on their own servers. They get the option of house up to two expansion files. Each one can be a maximum of 2GB. If you have downloaded some rather large games in the past, then you are sure to have downloaded assets ranging from 500MB’s to 1.5 GB. Developers can use the main expansion file for primary assets and then use the patch expansion file for smaller updates for the main files. A bit confusing right? Basically developers like EA, Gameloft, Madfinger and any of the high-end game companies, or your basic dev who just rocks, will be able to house much larger files through the Play Store that won’t require you to connect to external server of theirs to get the needed files.

I personally have never heard about this before. It is pretty sweet though. There are a few concerns though. Now that developers can offer up these much larger asset files directly through the Play Store, you are going to want to pay close attention to how and when you update. As you can see in the screenshots I just took of me updating the game, it is pulling 1.33 GB of data down through the Play Store. Wi-Fi is a must in my opinion. Meaning that you won’t want to update these larger games on the fly. I am not certain how it works out for a new purchase though. I assume that when you buy the game and install it then the asset files will automatically download now as well. Where as before you could snag the much smaller game file and launch it later on Wi-Fi to get the assets.

For more information on APK Expansion Files feel free to check out the Google Developers page. For everyone else who plans to update their game, make sure you have Wi-Fi connected first.



  • Jon Lambert

    They mentioned this at I/O along with the Smart Updates. The main benefit for the consumer is that the refund period doesn’t start counting down until all the expansion files are downloaded.