Google unexpectedly announced last month that its Google Play Games service will launch on Windows PCs in 2022. The news took many by surprise due to the rivalry between the two platforms, the fact that Google has historically been a bit hostile when it comes to running software on Microsoft platforms, and the nature of the announcement itself.
The last part suggests that Google is not partnering with Microsoft, BlueStacks, or any other firm to make this happen, but is instead developing this as its own project. This is despite Microsoft building the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) to bring Android apps and games to Windows 11 through a partnership with Amazon.
Today, Google has rolled out the beta version of Android games on Windows PCs in select countries; namely Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Users in these regions can register on a dedicated website to play Android games on Windows computers. The hardware and software requirements are as follows:
- Windows 10 (version 2004)
- Solid State Drive (SSD)
- Gaming Grade GPU
- 8 logical processor cores
- 8 GB RAM
- 20 GB free disk space
- Windows administrator account
- Hardware virtualization must be enabled
- Compatible device and PC configuration
It’s important to note that Microsoft’s WSA doesn’t provide Google Play Services by default, which gives Google an edge with its latest offering. This means you can easily sync your progress across Google Play compatible devices and earn points. It also supports Windows 10, while WSA does not. While there are workarounds to install Google Play Services on WSA on Windows 11, they are not officially supported.
Google says it will work directly with developers to ensure their games are optimized for PC and support appropriate input peripherals. He also set up a developer website here to provide recommendations to those who are interested.
People who register will be placed on a waiting list and invitations will be sent out on an ongoing basis. Google is currently starting out in three countries, but this year and beyond will expand to more countries. Given the fact that the service officially supports Google Play and Windows 10, it can be seen as a superior competitor to Microsoft’s WSA on Windows 11.