What is an API? It is a collection of subroutine definitions, communication protocols, and software building tools useful to developers who want to access and use the features or functions of an operating system, service, or another application. Games, too, have APIs which can be used to achieve certain goals.
What does API leveraging mean?
To leverage API means to make use of strategic advantages of APIs. It entails the provision of features, components, or resources to help developers in more effectively accessing a system, feature, service, or data.
To better explain this, consider the APIs deployed by Expedia. The major travel site launched their Expedia Affiliate Network developer program as a way to leverage their APIs, wherein developers are granted access to Expedia’s travel services. This program has led to the emergence of several new revenue sources for the site as around 5,000 developers created apps and services that now constitute more than half of the revenues generated by Expedia. It also helped expand Expedia’s reach online.
How mobile games leverage API
In the context of mobile games, leveraging API is a way of encouraging developers to make the game work on various platforms as well as to integrate the game with other apps or services. The main goal of doing this is usually to promote the game, to reach out to more potential players, and to encourage players to play more.
Game publishers don’t always release different versions optimized for various devices and operating system versions, or games with an extensive set of features and functions. What they do is to release the base game and let developers implement the necessary programming work to make the game work for different devices and integrate it with other services or platforms. This is where APIs play a critical role. For developers to quickly adopt a game and integrate it with other apps or services, the API should provide everything they need.
One example of how mobile games leverage APIs is the use of Google Play Games Services APIs. Google readily provides APIs to simplify and expedite the integration of gaming features in mobile games. The use of these APIs facilitates the acquisition and engaging of players/users, support for real-time or turn-by-turn gameplay, as well as the the seamless management of games.
There are also notable game APIs that are used exclusively for specific games. Examples of which are the Elophant League of Legends API, Guild Wars 2 API, Internet Game Database API, Steam Web API, Discord Bot API, and the Minecraft API. What these APIs do is primarily to provide access to game data and functions so third-party developers can come up with plugins and apps that can be used by players. Elophant League of Legends API, for example, allows the programmatic retrieval of information from the Elophant database through REST calls. These information include player statistics and details concerning the summoners.
The third-party developed programs help keep players hooked to the mobile games. These apps could be fact books, cheat sheets, or tools for earning extra points or discovering “Easter eggs” and bonuses in the games. All of which help sustain interest in the game and serve as resources for fan groups.
Ensuring optimum leveraging
Leveraging APIs is not as easy as developing a straightforward game for iOS or Android. It is imperative to optimize everything to make sure that the game works the best way it can across different platforms, hardware specs, and OS versions. Crashes, bugs, or performance issues should be sorted out. To do this, API testing is necessary. For companies that don’t have the proficient tech people to perform thorough testing, there’s the option to seek assistance from API leveraging specialists such as Stoplight, which also does HTTP API unit testing.
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