Since 2016, Google has had Instant apps on its mobile platform, Android. Android Instant apps, detailed in this explainer article I did a while back, are “simply lightweight versions of an already existing Android application that are launched when one makes a Google search and clicks through an appropriate link without necessarily having that application installed on their smartphone.”
Now, since that is about apps as we know them, how about games?
Seems Google has been thinking about that too and it’s a welcome thing to hear. The company notes in a blog posted on Monday that it has introduced Instant apps but for games which it is calling Google Play Instant.
“With Google Play Instant, you can just tap and try a game without having to download it first.”
This is great given the kind of struggle it can be to get a good, graphics-intensive action-packed game going.
If you play games on your Android device then you know that some of the best games that are available via the Google Play Store are quite “heavy”. By heavy I mean that they require a lot of storage space, some that may not be available on devices with low storage like 8 and 16GB or, even high capacity ones that have lots of other apps and multimedia content like music and videos. For the data conscious, downloading games can be quite tricky. If a game needs to download more than 1GB data and you are actually subscribed to a 1GB data plan (shameless plug: try out Flex) then we all know that’s not happening, right?
The workaround to all this, something I used to do back in the day when I couldn’t afford more than 3GB data, is to download the necessary game data manually when you’re on free Wi-Fi or transfer it from the device of someone who has the game, and then copy it to one’s device before going ahead to validate the game online and proceeding with game play. That can be quite tedious and technical since you’ll need prior knowledge of doing things like where to find the obb file and how to change the permissions so that you can write onto the corresponding file on your device, how to copy the data from the raw file and whatnot. Things you should otherwise not worry about when all you want to do is enjoy a good game.
While Google Play Instant doesn’t bring miracles to the table, it at least gives one a practical preview of a game without running the risk of spending quite a bit of their precious data bundles on something that they will eventually not like.