Playing Android games on a Windows device will soon be getting a lot easier. At The Game Awards 2021, Google revealed that it’s working on a dedicated Play Store Games app for Windows. This will provide native support for the full Google Play Store game library on Windows for the first time.
Google launched a limited beta of the app in January 2022, ahead of a full rollout later that year. It’s only available in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan so far, with those interested able to sign up on the Google website. More countries are expected to be added over the coming weeks and months.
Android games are already playable on Google’s Chrome OS, but it makes sense for the company to extend support to Windows – it’s the most popular desktop operating system by far. Crucially, Play Store Games has been created independently by Google, meaning it can run on both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
That’s the key advantage over the native Android app support Microsoft recently introduced, which is exclusive to Windows 11. It can still run Android games, albeit from the much more limited selection on the Amazon Appstore. A workaround provides access to all apps on the Google Play Store, but it’s a complicated process which requires you to jump through a few hoops.
If you’re set on mobile gaming from your desktop or other Windows PC, Play Store Games looks like being the new best option. It’s also designed to be used across all your devices, with the ability to share progress between Android, ChromeOS and now Windows.
The technology Google is using to emulate these apps remains unknown, just that they’re stored locally and not streamed. Of course, how smoothly each game works will still be dependent on the performance of your machine. That’s the case on ChromeOS, where not all Android apps run without issues. Still, this looks like being a more seamless solution than using third-party emulator software such as Bluestacks.
Google only briefly teased Play Store Games at The Game Awards 2021, and the limited beta is live now. It’s not clear exactly when this will be expanded to include other countries, or how long we’ll be waiting for a final version to arrive.