Google on Wednesday took the next steps in its plan to bring Android games to PCs, opening sign-ups in select regions to beta test the feature a year after it was first announced.
Android games will be made available in a standalone app called Google Play Games, which will hold popular mobile titles including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Summoners War, State of Survival: The Joker Collaboration, and Three Kingdoms Tactics.
The launcher, which Google built on its own, will let players natively browse, download, and play Android games from their desktop PC then resume them on their phone, tablet, or Chromebook. Since progress and achievements are linked to a profile, you can go from playing on a Pixel 6 to a Surface Laptop Studio and pick up right where you left off. Also, Google’s Play Points — part of its free-to-join rewards program — can be gained when buying apps on a PC.
Crucially, Google claims mobile games played through the Google Play Games app will support mouse and keyboard inputs and be optimised for larger screens.
Before we get too excited, folks in the U.S. and Europe will need to wait a bit longer because the beta is first arriving in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Google says it will have more to share on future beta releases “soon” but declined to give us specifics.
For Google Play Games to be successful on PC, developers will need to ensure their games are compatible with larger screens and that mouse/keyboard inputs function properly. Letterboxing (or pillarboxing), when an app’s aspect ratio is incompatible with the aspect ratio of a screen, has been a problem with running apps on larger Android tablets for several years, and only now is Google doing something about it by launching Android 12L, a large-screen variant of the company’s mobile OS.
The road to success for Google Play Games on PC and the upcoming tablet-focused OS is the same: expand the mobile apps that attract hundreds of millions of users to new platforms without sacrificing the experience. To that end, Google published more detailed instructions on how devs can optimise their existing apps to be Windows PC compatible.
If you’re based in South Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong and want to give the beta a try, you can enter a queue to access Google Play Games by going to the official website and pressing the “Join the waitlist” button.
Google didn’t say when it plans to release Google Play Games on PC to the public, but we know the app will be available sometime in 2022. Until then, emulators like BlueStacks let you play Android games on your Windows PC via a browser.