Google Play apps are coming to PC this year courtesy of a standalone Windows app, Google Play Games (opens in new tab). The company recently released the beta in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan, and plans to follow up soon by extending access to other countries.
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Previously, the only ways to run an Android app or game on your PC was through Microsoft's Your Phone (opens in new tab) app, an emulator like BlueStacks (opens in new tab), or by utilising the Windows Subsystem for Android (opens in new tab) through the Amazon Appstore.
In regards to the final option, Microsoft is a little vague as to why the company chose to go with Amazon, rather than working directly with Google. Android Authority (opens in new tab) says sources spoke of the move being of "incredible benefit" to customers, and that branching out to Amazon was all in the name of "choice and fairness."
We have a feeling it had something to do with the bitter, sometimes savage rivalry Microsoft has had with Google over the years. But you never know.
Now though, as Computerbase (opens in new tab) outlines, the beta for Google's own Windows app is out for its initial public testing phase. I might've tried to bypass the region block using a VPN connected to Hong Kong, but as it's a Google app, they know where I live, sadly.
Once you do gain access, though, you'll be able to play and sync your Android games to the cloud, and will be able to pick up your game where you left off on any compatible device.
Speaking of compatibility, where the Windows Subsystem for Android was only available on Windows 11 machines, Google Play Games will work for anyone on Windows 10 v2004 or above, which is great for those who have followed our advice (opens in new tab) and waited to install the latest OS.
However, there are some limitations for the app: AMD systems with less than 1GB VRAM are unsupported, along with "all Lenovo ThinkPads," and there are some other light system requirements (opens in new tab):
- Windows 10 (v2004)
- Solid state drive (SSD)
- 20 GB of available storage space
- Gaming-class GPU (opens in new tab)
- 8 logical CPU cores
- 8 GB of RAM
- Windows admin account
- Hardware virtualization must be turned on
- Compatible PC device and configuration
Of course, any developers looking to get their games up on PC will need to port them effectively, and get the controls right. Otherwise people will be pawing at their screens wondering why the game's not working properly. Thankfully, Google has some advice (opens in new tab) on that matter.
The whole escapade seems well thought out, and we're looking forward to not having to sign into Amazon just to play Google games, or download an emulator. Lets go, Google!