Thanks to projects like Android x86 and Bluestacks, it’s been possible to play Android games on Windows for almost as long as Android has existed. Microsoft has just begun to integrate an Android app layer directly into Windows, with software available for download from the Amazon Appstore (or you can sideload apps and games). Now it appears that Google is poised to develop its own system for playing Android games on PCs.
The Game Awards were held on Thursday night, and while there wasn’t much in the way of Android news, Google made a surprising announcement. In 2022, Google will release a Google Play Games app for Windows PCs, according to the company. “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,” Greg Hartrell, Google’s product director of games for Android and Google Play, told The Verge.
Google hasn’t said anything about how it works or which games will be offered at the moment. Google did affirm that the software was created entirely by Google, with no help from Microsoft, Bluestacks, or other third-party developers. Games will run locally on your PC rather than being streamed from a cloud server, and they will work with Windows 10 and newer. Only Windows 11 is compatible with Microsoft’s virtualization layer for Android apps.
Chromebooks already run Android games and apps, so switching to a different desktop platform shouldn’t be that difficult (besides the technical challenges). By developing its own software with (supposedly) complete Play Services support, Google may be able to persuade fewer game creators to support an Amazon Appstore version, which would be essential for Microsoft’s Android compatibility layer to work without requiring users to sideload apps. Google, on the other hand, appears to be uninterested in running conventional Android apps on Windows, whereas Microsoft’s solution supports both apps and games.