Google to bring Android games to Windows in 2022

During the Game Awards on Thursday last week, Google announced that they are planning to bring Android games to Windows PCs next year. Windows PCs users will have access to the Google Play Games app available in the new year, which is entirely built by the tech giant to allow games from Google Play to run on Windows laptops, tablets and PCs.

“Starting in 2022, players will be able to experience their favourite Google Play games on more devices: seamlessly switching between a phone, tablet, Chromebook, and soon, Windows PCs,” says Greg Hartrell, Google’s product director of games on Android and Google Play, in their official press release.

“This Google-built product brings the best of Google Play Games to more laptops and desktops, and we are thrilled to expand our platform for players to enjoy their favourite Android games even more.”

Google spokesperson Alex Garcia-Kummet has put emphasis on the fact the company has built the app on their own without external input, this means that they have no partnership with Microsoft, BlueStacks or any other company in the Windows ecosystem.

The upcoming app will also have cross progression, in that players will be allowed to resume games on a desktop PC, after playing them on a phone, tablet or even a Chromebook.

Aside from teasing the app during the Game Awards, and promising a release window next year, Google has not provided much technical information on what technology they are using to emulate the Android apps on Windows. Importantly, however, they have clarified that the games will run locally instead of being streamed from the cloud.

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“This will be a native Windows app distributed by Google, which will support Windows 10 and up,” explains Hartrell. “It will not involve game streaming.”

News that the app will not rely on any special integration with Windows 11 are welcome, especially since the majority of users are still on Windows 10 with no plans of upgrading anytime soon.

Another reason for Google staying clear of game streaming in this particular case might be due to the existence of Google Stadia. They might fear the two products might overlap so much, further bringing more confusion to the average consumer.

This Google announcement comes a few months after Microsoft started testing Android apps on Windows 11 PCs. Microsoft achieved this by building an underlying Windows Subsystem for Android, which is capable of running the Android apps from a variety of sources.

Microsoft does not have native Google Play support, but has instead partnered with Amazon to let Windows users natively install games and apps from the Amazon Appstore.

The fact that Microsoft has only officially partnered with Amazon, directly translates to fewer Android games and apps being available for Windows 11 users to easily install. This leaves the door open for Google and BlueStacks to wade in and fill that gap.

BlueStacks, on the other hand, looks at approaching this from a different angle compared to Microsoft and Google, making it possible for Windows users to play Android games on a web browser using BlueStacks X.

Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly