Windows 11 has dominated the news cycle since Microsoft announced it late last week. It’s a big move for the company, considering it once said that Windows 10 would be the last operating system. The new OS will arrive with a lot of additional features, including a redesigned start bar, widgets and a bigger focus on multitasking. One of the biggest announcements was that Windows 11 will allow users to install Android apps through the Amazon app store.
For years, PC users have emulated Android in Windows using applications like Bluestacks. This allowed gamers and developers to run a virtual Android device from their desktop. Sideloading Android apps in this way allows users the choice between emulation or natively running Android games on a PC. It’s a pro-consumer move that will further close the gap between mobile and PC gaming.
Android Game Emulation
Sideloading Android apps in Windows is exciting for several reasons, but it presents numerous opportunities for game emulation. Some of the best GBA and Nintendo Switch emulators are on Android. Some Android emulators actually run better than they do on PC, which is great because it will give Windows 11 users far more choice when trying to emulate classic titles.
It also opens up PC gamers to the vast library of Android-exclusive titles as well. While most of the gaming marketplace is filled with free-to-play, heavily monetised games, there are some hidden gems. Titles like Pixel dungeon, 10000000 and The Room series of puzzle games.
Android sideloading is a good thing for gamers, offering more options to those who want to emulate titles and a library of potentially inaccessible games.
Read More: Ranking the best PC and Android emulators
Bridging the gap
Giving players choice is a good thing. In an industry that often leverages choice for a profit, offering gamers numerous options for accessing mobile games is great. For years now there has been a bit of bridge between mobile gaming and PC and console gaming. Bridging the two will make mobile gaming far more accessible to other players.
Mobile gaming is increasingly becoming more demanding, and not everyone can afford a top-of-the-range Samsung every couple of years. By opening up the Google Store to PC, it means more players can access mobile games without the restriction of an under-performing PC. And yes I know, if someone can afford a PC they can probably afford a phone, but truthfully, PCs are actually cheaper than some phones.
The gap is being bridged from the other direction though as mobile devices are now a great way to play PC games through the likes of Xbox Game Pass and Nvidia’s Geforce Now service. In fact, more console games are also receiving dedicated mobile ports. For example, League of Legends finally made its mobile debut with Wild Rift. Even Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends is making its way over!
A sign of things to come?
Microsoft working with Amazon in this way is a positive sign moving forward. As consumers, we ultimately want more of the big corporations to work together, as it positively affects our experience as consumers.
Microsoft and Nintendo have openly embraced cross-play, and while Sony was reluctant, it is also coming around to the idea. Microsoft and Amazon working together in a similar way could make way for other pro-consumer features in the feature.
There is one downside to all this. Users will primarily download mobile apps through the Amazon app store, which is pretty dreadful. A developer has confirmed that users will be able to download APK files and install them directly, so it makes it a little more bearable. In the future though, we could see a full Google Play store implementation, that’s if the two businesses ever stop bickering.