Last year, Google surprised us by saying that Android games would be available for Windows through Google Play Games for Windows. It later released a limited beta program, which we have finally been able to test.
We have been able to test Google Play Games for Windows, and we will tell you how it works, what you need, and if bringing Android games to the “big screen” of mobile is a good idea or not.
Google Play Games for Windows is still in a closed beta, and you have to sign up for it on the Google Play website. You can only sign up in a few countries. In the others, you’ll get the message “The beta is not yet available in your region.” Then you can sign up to be notified when the beta starts.
If the beta is open in your country, you’ll have to put your name on a list of people who want to try it out. When it’s your turn, Google will send you an email letting you know that you can now download Google Play Games for Windows. Well, if you have the right technical skills.
Android games operate on Windows using a virtual computer, thus you need power. Google has dropped the minimum requirements for Google Play Games on Windows. They’re not exorbitant, but Windows PCs won’t be worth it.
Importantly, you won’t have to do any manual checking because the first step on Google Play Games for Windows is to download a tool that will help you check if your PC meets the requirements. It is a 2 MB tool that tells you in a second if your computer is ready or not.
The tool opens the results in your browser, where you can now download the main Google Play Games client for Windows. Before signing up for the beta or downloading anything, here are the minimum requirements as of today:
- Windows 10 in version v2004 or higher
- An SSD hard drive
- “Gaming Friendly “ GPU
- A processor with at least six logical cores
- 8GB RAM
- 20 GB of available space
- Administrator account on Windows
- Hardware virtualization enabled
Some of the available Games
Now that the Google Play Games client is set up, you can sign in. Google will only let you sign in with a Google account that has access to the beta. This means that even if you find the installer, you won’t be able to move on. When you sign in, you’ll finally be able to use Google Play Games for Windows.
Both the Google Play web app and the Google Play Games app for Windows are very similar. It only has three tabs right now: Home, Library, and All Games. Home is a mix of suggestions for games to download, which doesn’t make much sense since there aren’t that many games to download these days. It’s almost better to just go straight to All Games.
The list of games will likely grow and change from region to region, but there aren’t that many to begin with. I can see exactly 24 games, but as we’ll see in a bit, not all of them are installed directly from Google Play. If you’re interested, here are the games that I can play:
- Asphalt 9: Legends
- Botworld Adventure
- Cookie Run: Kingdom
- Cookie Run: OvenBreak
- Dragon Mania Legends
- game of sultans
- Genshin Impact
- Idle Heroes
- Last Shelter:Survival
- Lineage W
- Magic Rush: Heroes
- Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Crimson Tide
- Rise of Empires: Ice and Fire
- State of Survival: Zombie War
- Summoner’s War: Sky Arena
- War Planet Online
Installing games is really simple.
Google Play Games for Windows can also be used to easily find, download, install, and play Android games on a PC. For now, all the compatible games are free, so all you have to do to get one is click the “Download” button.
When it’s done downloading, that button will turn into a Play button. However, the Library tab is the best way to find games you’ve already installed on your PC. If you had a lot of games, which is hard to do in this beta, the most recent games are shown in a panel on the home tab, so it’s easy to find them again.
Keep in mind that this works just like it does on a phone. Some games will ask you to download something else as soon as you open them. Depending on the game, this download could be quite large.
As a bonus, you can also install games from the Google Play website, which is a bit strange. As long as the game is compatible, it will show up in the list of devices under the name “Google HPE Device.” If you choose it, it will be downloaded to the Google Play client for Windows automatically.
Not all games can be installed directly from the app. Two games are installed independently by downloading EXE files from Google Play. Lineage W and Genshin Impact. Both games display in Google Play Games, however downloading redirects to the website. They’re also different from the Google Play app.
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How the games work
It’s time to test the innovation with a few games added. Android game emulators for Windows have existed for years before Google Play Games for Windows. This time, it’s from Google.
The chosen list of Windows compatible games adapt without difficulties to the horizontal format and may be utilised in full screen (which is how they open by default) and window mode. My testing haven’t shown any performance or slowness issues, but most games are easy.
Controls? Most of the games are basic, so mouse control works well while trying the beta. Instead of tapping, you click the mouse.
Asphalt 9’s screenshot shows keyboard control, however hardly no game currently supports it. The technology is ready to use the keyboard and mouse like other Windows games, but nearly none of the suitable titles support it. Because of this, we can’t test a console controller.
Android games on PC
If the beta is successful, playing Android games on PC will be as frequent as on mobile or tablet. The system works as it should: it’s straightforward and intuitive to use. games work well. What else?
Google Play Games for Windows is still green. It has one configuration, no gameplay tools (like BlueStacks), and a small range of supported games. Google promises, but you never know if it will work or wind up in the evidence cemetery.