Next year, Google plans to bring Android games to Windows PCs. In 2022, Google will release a Google Play Games app that will allow Google Play games to operate on Windows laptops, tablets, and PCs.
“Beginning in 2022, players will be able to play their favorite Google Play games on additional devices, easily moving between a phone, tablet, Chromebook, and, eventually, Windows PCs,” says Greg Hartrell, Google’s product director of Android and Google Play games, in a statement to The Verge. “With this Google-built solution, more laptops and desktops will have access to the finest of Google Play Games, and we’re excited to expand our platform so that users can play their favorite Android games even more.”
According to Google spokeswoman Alex Garcia-Kummert, the firm produced this app on its own, which means the company didn’t work with Microsoft, BlueStacks, or anyone else on this. Players will be able to restart games on a desktop PC after playing them on a phone, tablet, or Chromebook with the new app.
For the time being, Google is only teasing the app during tonight’s Game Awards, with a projected release date of next year. Google hasn’t revealed what technology it’s employing to imitate Android apps on Windows, but games will run locally rather than streaming from the cloud.
“This will be a Google-distributed native Windows program that will support Windows 10 and higher,” Hartrell reveals. “There will be no game streaming.” Google’s app will not rely on any special Windows 11 integration, and it will be distributed by Google itself.
Google’s disclosure comes after Microsoft began testing Android apps on Windows 11 PCs some months ago. Microsoft has created an Android underpinning Windows Subsystem that can run Android apps from a variety of sources. Microsoft has teamed with Amazon to allow Windows users to install Amazon Appstore games and apps natively, although native Google Play compatibility will not be available through Microsoft’s functionality.
Because Microsoft has solely partnered with Amazon for that feature, there are significantly less Android games and apps accessible for Windows 11 customers to install than there might be otherwise. Google, BlueStacks, and others have the opportunity to fill that void.
While Microsoft and Google attempt to bring Android apps and games to Windows, BlueStacks has taken it a step further by bringing Android games to web browsers. BlueStacks X is a free browser extension that allows you to play Android games, and BlueStacks has been focusing on Android gaming on Windows since it became the primary use case for its main app in 2016.
Details on Google’s ambitions for Android apps on Windows were initially revealed earlier this year in a document from the Epic v. Apple trial. The 70-page plan, dated October 2020, revealed an ambitious effort to bring Android games on Macs and Windows PCs. Google will first offer “emulated, native, and streamed games” to Windows, according to the document, and at least part of that endeavor will begin in 2022.