Already tested in certain Asian markets at the start of the year, Google Play Games is entering the USA and a few key markets (Brazil, Canada, etc.). Running your Android games on your PC, will this Steam-style service arrive in Europe?
After the failure and abandonment of Stadia, Google is not throwing in the towel in the field of video games. And launches in the United States, Canada and a few other markets its “Google Play Games” service. As the mention “Play” indicates, this is a service backed by its Android vertical. And as your brain very intelligently suggests, it must be seen as a service that allows you to play your Android games… on PC. Yes, you read that right.
Read also : Google will (finally) close Stadia, its cloud gaming service… and reimburse you (September 2022)
Announced last December 2021, the service had only been launched in January 2022 in a few Asian markets: South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia. Today, in addition to the United States, Google Play Games is coming to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Consisting of a PC launcher for Windows, Google Play Games allows you to continue playing certain mobile games on your PC and thus enjoy greater comfort.
The word “some” is important here since not all titles are natively compatible. Whether it’s verifying graphics engine portability or peripheral support, there’s work to be done to ensure games run smoothly. This means that, for the time being, you have to be content with a few dozen titles (85 at the time of writing these lines) validated by the service.
No need for a state-of-the-art PC
Google Play Games has nothing in common with Stadia and therefore the service does not rely on the cloud gaming, but well and truly on the power of your PC. But fear not: no need to have a racing machine, far from it. Because the Google teams have refined their machine. Initially, the PC client required an eight-core (octo-core) processor, 20 GB of free SSD space, 8 GB of RAM, and a “class gaming “. Now, Google specifies that all you need is a four-core (quad-core) processor, 10 GB of free space on an SSD, 8 GB of RAM and an Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip. brings back in 2017 on the technology side, since this GPU integrated into Intel processors first arrived in the Core 8e generation. To maintain up to chips of 10e generation engraved in 14 nm+++ (the Ice Lake versions were engraved in 10 nm and integrated the Iris Plus GPU, precursor of Xe).
Read also : After the failed Stadia, Google is relaunching in video games with Chromebook gaming (October 2022)
Suffice to say, any PC four to five years old should be able to comfortably run Android games. And that any more powerful GPU will logically give you more comfort. These minimalist requirements make it possible to realize that PCs are still much more powerful than smartphones.
Smartphones that offer very good image quality… in particular because the target screen size allows them to do without certain performance-intensive effects. One thinks of anti-aliasing for example (anti-aliasing), complexity of shadows, etc.
Google counts on mobile on PC… and Microsoft the opposite
As our colleagues from Gizmodo, Google is following in Microsoft’s footsteps… but in reverse. Google is starting from mobile gaming and making attempts on the PC – fire Stadia and now Google Play Games. But in this game, we can only see that Microsoft has the advantage.
Read also : You’ll soon be able to game on xCloud with a keyboard and mouse (March 2022)
In addition to its home consoles, Microsoft is already a heavyweight in PC gaming – by the OS, the APIs (DirectX), its Windows Store, its PC Game Pass subscription, etc. And it is he who wants to expand to the mobile market, by far the most buoyant, with bricks like his xCloud. Or a very soon evolution of its Android Xbox application which could arrive with a batch of games dedicated to this universe. And in this game, Microsoft has a big advantage over Google since it is a publisher (and even a developer) of titles. Role that Google abandoned when it closed its Stadia-related studios.
If we can therefore see the arrival of Google Play Games as a nice free bonus, Google has yet to develop its offer to do something else. Let’s hope that, like Netflix or Apple, the American giant expands its offer with a wider catalog of games, possibly free or at least at reduced prices. There, he would inspire us.
Google Android Developers (Blog)