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I'm confused about whether I need to publish my .apk file on Google Play Console with or without achievements and leaderboard.

  1. If I publish the game without achievements and leaderboards, then, how can I integrate the google play service at a later date?

  2. The first thing I saw was that I should go for alpha publish. Is that necessary?

  3. If I do publish the alpha version for the game without including achievements and leaderboard, how can I add these later? In this video, first the game is published without the achievements/leaderboard, and later he integrates them. So how does it show results since we didn't include these buttons for leaderboard and achievements?

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It is not necessary to do an alpha publish. The apk you upload to publish to the store will only have what you include on it. To update the game with leaderboards, you could upload another apk built with the same key and a new version number. This will be treated as an update for users who have already installed the game.

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You do not need to upload an apk that has achievements or leaderboards. If you wish to add them later, all you have to do is follow along the steps shown in the video.

Also, you are not forced to create achievements in the Google Play Developer Console, and use them. Notice in the video that it takes time to publish the changes. Once the settings in the Google Play Developer Console are published, you can still choose not to have code for unlocking the achievements. But once they are published, users will be able to see them.

You will just have to add relevant code to unlock achievements when you want to update your apk, and when you are about to create a build, you will have to increment the build version in player settings. This will allow you to update the app on the Developer Console.

Whenever you upload a build to the Developer Console, you have the option of setting the environment to which you wish to publish. Alpha, Beta or Release. I don’t remember for sure, but I don’t think you can go back to Alpha or Beta after uploading a Release build. If you have already tested your game, you can release without alpha or beta without issues. If you are publishing it for your testers, or for open alpha/beta, you can do that, and then later release a finished product having fixed most of the bugs.

 

ALSO IMPORTANT NOTE: When you create a keystore for uploading the app to the Play Store, do not lose the password. You will not be able to update your app if you do not sign it with the same keystore details.

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