Google just opened the door to all Android games on Windows 11

Android game on Windows laptop
(Image credit: Future)

One of the big selling points for Windows 11 when it was first announced was its support for Android apps. 

But the actual implementation isn’t for everyone: only Windows Insiders currently have access to the feature, and Microsoft has partnered with Amazon’s Appstore, which limits the amount of choice. While Google Play boasts over 2.5 million apps, Amazon’s alternative has just over 450,000.  

Now Google has decided to take matters into its own hands and make the selection far more expansive. At The Game Awards yesterday the company revealed that it will be bringing a desktop Play Games app to Windows. 

And not just Windows 11, either: Google says the app will be coming to Windows 10, which may irk Microsoft, given the company seemed to be using Android emulation as a big incentive in encouraging users to upgrade to Windows 11. 

On Android, Play Games is Google’s umbrella term for the various game-related services including data syncing, social plugins, achievements and leaderboards — a service that is used by 2.5 billion people every month, according to the company. 

Here, it will apparently go a step further with support for emulated Android titles, no streaming involved. The company promised that users would be able to seamlessly switch between devices, suggesting cloud syncing of progress from Android to Windows and back again.

“Starting in 2022, players will be able to experience their favorite Google Play games on more devices: seamlessly switching between a phone, tablet, Chromebook, and soon, Windows PCs,” Google’s product director of games on Android and Google Play, Greg Hartrell told The Verge. “This Google built product brings the best of Google Play Games to more laptops and desktops, and we are thrilled to expand our platform for players to enjoy their favorite Android games even more.”

Google went on to explain to the site that it had built the app on its own without partnership with Microsoft.

Beyond arriving in 2022 with more details to follow, Google was tight-lipped as to when we can expect to see this, and indeed whether it will always be limited to just games. 

Perhaps that’s unsurprising given it was unveiled at the Game Awards, but in the long run, it presumably wouldn’t take a great deal of effort to expand the feature to include everything that the Google Play Store has to offer. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.