I finally installed Google Play Games Beta on PC and it’s exactly what I thought it would be
I’ve actively avoided installing the Google Play Games Beta on PC since it was released in November, as I felt that enabling hardware virtualization was a frustrating hurdle. Specifically for my Windows PC, I had to go into the BIOS and enable it, but only after installing additional chipset software from AMD.
But now that I’ve done that, I’m starting to see the appeal of the clean UI and the promise of bringing over a decade of mobile gaming to the big screen. It’s exciting to see the potential of Android gaming finally being realized on larger displays, despite the mediocre selection of titles currently available on the service.
The app allows users to play these mobile games with a mouse and keyboard, which provides a much more tactile experience than touching the phone screen. Erasing the walls between device form factors is a step in the right direction for the future of gaming in my opinion, and we’re already seeing more and more developers integrating cross-platform gaming between handsets and desktops. The fact that Google is testing bringing Android games to PC shows that the company is taking steps to enhance its users’ gaming experience.
Unfortunately, when I run the app on Windows 11, I have noticed that after extensive testing, some games keep crashing after a few minutes of play or inactivity. However, other games like Summoner’s War Chronicles are mostly a joy to play. It’s clear that Google is cherry-picking experiences on the platform and not simply porting apps to phones, so it’s clear that the development team cares. The caveat is that working with developers to tailor their games for use with peripherals isn’t easy or quick, so it’s going to be a slow process.
However, there are still issues with matching the touch controls to the mouse and keyboard. For example, while I click and drag to rotate my character in Summoner’s War Chronicles, my mouse won’t lock inside the game window, so it goes off screen and messes up battles.
However, the upcoming Game Overlay may help with this sort of thing, but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, it’s literally just mapping keystrokes to touches or taps, and mouse drags to swipes. It’s a frustrating and poor attempt to force compatibility with peripherals since developers have been refusing to properly port their games for years, but what else could Google do, right? It’s ambitious and admirable, but it may never be as customizable as real PC controllers. I hope I’m wrong about that.
All in all, I’m still going with the Google Play Games Beta for PC despite my previous hesitation in the hope that it will improve. It’s exciting to see what Google has in store for the future of mobile gaming, and this beta is a hopeful but bare-bones step in the right direction. If the company doesn’t kill it in a year or two, we could see a new wave of games designed for both mobile and PC, and Play Games could be at the forefront of this movement for the general public.