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For years, users who wanted to run Android games on their Windows computers had to be thrown into all sorts of workarounds, software and drivers (Hyush ADB) or BlueStacks and other emulators. If that was not enough the experience was often not optimal to say the least. But now Google announces – that all these detours will soon become history.
After the apps, the games finally arrive
Google has announced that alongside the ability to run Android apps in Windows 11, it plans to allow starting next year the games of its mobile platform on the computers running Windows (yes yes, Windows 10 too). All of this will be made possible through a dedicated Google Play Games app currently being developed for Microsoft operating systems.
Greg Hartrell, a senior at Google’s Gaming Department, said that starting in 2022, users will be able to play through Google Play Games on Windows PCs, giving them an ongoing gaming experience across the various Android platforms – whether on the phone or tablet – on Chromebooks – and of course on Windows.
The app that will reach Windows was built entirely by Google, without any collaboration with Microsoft itself, or any other player in the Windows emulation worlds like BlueStacks (which recently launched a dedicated platform for Android games for Windows). It is supposed to allow users to start playing on their phone, continue it on the computer, play some Chromebook and then go back to playing on the phone smoothly – just like any cloud gaming service. The app that Google is developing will run a native on Windows and run the games you choose directly on the computer and not in the cloud – so if you have a reasonable computer, you should not suffer too much bugs or jerky graphics. Along with distribution through the Microsoft App Store, Google will distribute the new app that it also develops itself directly to users.
Meanwhile, the apps (roughly) have arrived in Windows 11
Before the games arrived, Microsoft began allowing users to finally run Android apps on top of Windows 11 – but only if you were in beta. To get started and use Android apps, users need to download the Amazon App Store through Microsoft’s App Store in Windows 11 – with the plan being to update the Amazon Store with new capabilities and APIs later. The same sub-system runs a virtual machine (Hyper-V) which knows how to access all the other necessary components in the operating system in order to enable the running of Android applications.
What actually makes it all possible is a new component in the operating system called Windows Subsystem for Android that contains the Linux kernel and AOSP, the open source version of Android version 11. This is a similar course of action to the Windows Subsystem for Linux that already exists in the system. Windows Subsystem for Android can run on Intel processors, but also on Qualcomm’s AMD and ARM processors using Intel Bridge technology.