The gaming industry is worth billions of dollars and is growing all the time. It has come a long way since the early days of arcade games and the first home consoles. Now, games are ultra-realistic and can be played across a wide range of platforms and devices.
Back in May 2024, Google launched the beta version of Google Play Games in New Zealand and a number of other countries. In this guide, we dive into what Google Play Games is and assess how it has performed since the launch of the beta six months ago.
What is Google Play Games?
Google Play Games is a service operated by Google that allows users to run Android games on Windows-powered PCs and devices.
Cross-compatibility issues have long been a thorn in the side of the gaming industry. It creates deep divisions and divides between loyal users of different platforms, and consumers have to spend big and buy various consoles if they want to enjoy all of the games on the market.
It leads to competition between developers and console designers. Every company wants the best games to be exclusive to their platform. While this competition is good for the industry, driving development and innovation, it comes at a financial cost to the customer, and recently resulted in the hotly contested ‘console wars’ between PS5 and the XBOX Series X.
Google Play Games can be seen as an attempt to address this issue directly. By effectively ‘leveling the playing field’ by offering a single, consolidated platform, Google Play can give gamers exactly what they want.
Gaming is such a competitive landscape – all at once, you have the triple-A bigwigs, the indie developers, the legends and the newcomers all vying for attention. According to Casinos.com, iGaming is its own microcosm, even down to the latest casinos that accept players from NZ – every element is contested by many big fish, and plenty of smaller ones, too.
Google Play Games Launches in New Zealand
The Google Play Games beta was initially launched in August 2022. At this time, it was only available in Australia, Hong Kong and Thailand. Later that year, the beta was rolled out to a number of additional countries, including the US and Mexico.
Since then, Google has slowly made the beta available in more countries. This rollout has been slow to give developers the chance to identify and iron out any issues or bugs before the service is officially launched.
In May of this year, Google executed the most significant expansion of the Google Play Games service to date. It was made available in New Zealand and more than 40 countries in Europe, including the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
Google is an influential company that is known all over the world. Whether you’re looking to book a holiday, keeping up with the latest fashion trend or searching for the biggest celeb gossip, Google will have the answers.
It might seem strange then that such a powerful company would roll out a service so slowly. However, this has been key for developing Google Play Games and ensuring it is free from issues and glitches.
How Has Google Play Games Performed?
Google Play Games offers something of a unique service. It ports mobile Android games to desktops. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but if you think of how differently these platforms work, the significance becomes apparent.
To play mobile games, users tap their fingers on the touchscreen and sometimes tilt their device to make use of the accelerometer. For PC gaming, a mouse and keyboard are used. These two approaches couldn’t be more different, which is why the idea of mobile games in a PC format is so interesting.
According to reports, some of the mobile titles available on Google Play Games translate perfectly, and being able to use a mouse and keyboard makes these games even more enjoyable. However, some games don’t translate as well, feeling clunky and awkward to operate.
Additionally, there have been some reports about the service freezing and crashing. While this is never a good thing for a games platform, the fact that this is still a beta version means these issues will likely be addressed and rectified before an official launch.
What Games Does the Service Offer?
When it comes to choosing a game to play, the choice is essentially limitless. If you’re using the Google Play Games beta, you will have a huge selection of titles to choose from.
Some of the most popular games on the service include Blade Idle, Cookie Run: Kingdom and 1945 Air Force. These have ported particularly well to PC and have benefited from the additional control offered by using a mouse and keyboard.
Google is continuing to add games to the service, so you can expect to see many more titles be made available in the future.
Google Play Games has a lot of people feeling very excited. If you have ever felt disappointed to find that a game you want is exclusive to a console or device you don’t own, services like Google Play Games could be the perfect solution. While it’s not perfect yet, the beta will allow developers to fine-tune things and ensure it works at launch.