Earlier this year, one of the documents used in the Epic vs. Apple trial revealed that Google has been secretly working on a vision for a cross-platform Android gaming service. Now the company has confirmed as much, but we’ll have to wait until next year to find out what it’s all about.
When Microsoft first announced Windows 11, it made a big selling point that it would open the Microsoft Store to apps built using a variety of desktop and web technologies. At the same time, it also promised to bring Android apps to Windows 11 users via Amazon’s Appstore.
As of writing, you can only install Amazon’s Appstore if you’re enrolled in the Windows Insider Program (beta channel). The feature that allows you to install and run Android apps is called the Windows Subsystem for Android, which is similar in many ways to the Windows Subsystem for Linux that has been available in Windows 10 for a while. The experience is somewhat similar to running Android apps on Chrome OS, with the caveat that you’re limited to the few apps available on Amazon’s Appstore.
However, that may change in the near future as Google, too, wants a piece of the Android action on Windows.
The company made a surprise announcement at The Game Awards where it revealed it will bring Android games to Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs. The functionality will arrive through a desktop Play Games app, and Google says you’ll be able to sync game data like progress and achievements between Android, Windows, and Chrome OS.
The new app wasn’t developed in partnership with Microsoft, and doesn’t rely on the same integration as the Amazon Appstore in order to work. Google didn’t offer any details about the technology behind it, but it’s safe to assume it will use some kind of emulation to enable Android games to run under a Windows environment. The company only confirmed the games will run locally instead of being streamed from the cloud.
Google says Play Games for Windows will be available next year and that a more in-depth reveal is coming “soon.”