The smartphone wars have been won by apps. That’s why we all use Android and iOS phones instead of Palm and BlackBerry. The number of apps on these platforms doesn’t matter as much these days – it’s more than enough. Now, some of Android’s massive app catalog is for Windows. Microsoft has its Android framework in Windows 11, but Google isn’t going to be outdone. It is launch of a first beta version of Google Play Games, which will bring mobile games to Windows PCs… eventually. So far, only a few regions have access to the beta.
Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Android will allow users to install Android software of their choice, including apps and games. It partners with Amazon to provide an app store, but that means most content won’t be available. Google’s Play Store has a much larger selection, but even Google’s solution won’t provide all the Android apps you’d expect. As the name suggests, Google Play Games on Windows will only offer games.
It makes sense in some ways. Games scale better to larger screens, and most apps are just conduits to services that exist on the web. Additionally, mobile games often include in-app purchases that print money for the developers (and Google). “We’re thrilled to announce that some of the world’s most popular mobile games will be available at launch, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Summoners War, State of Survival: The Joker Collaboration, and Three Kingdoms Tactics,” Google said. .
I should point out that all of these games are free with in-app purchases of $100 or more. Google would get a cut of all those deals in Google Play Games, but not if people get their content from the Amazon Appstore in Windows 11. Google’s sudden desire to get Android games on Windows is almost certainly a direct response to Microsoft’s announcement.
If you can’t wait to pay $99.99 for virtual gems, you can join the Google Play Games beta today in South Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. If you are not in these locales, you will have to wait to access the service. Google stresses that Google Play Games for Windows will be a local app, emulating the apps on your machine rather than streaming them from the cloud. This means that someone might find a way to make the app work in other regions, but right now a VPN isn’t enough to trick Google into thinking you’re in a supported region. Google says the final version of Google Play Games will roll out to Windows 10 and 11 later this year. In the meantime, there’s always Chrome OS, which has full access to the Play Store.