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article imageGoogle adds 'Instant Games' streaming support to Android

By James Walker     Mar 21, 2018 in Technology
Google has announced that Android users can now "try" games before they've downloaded the app. The company is expanding its Instant Apps technology to include Play Store games. Compatible titles can be opened just by clicking a link, no install required.
Google launched the initiative at the Game Developer's Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week. The company first rolled out its Instant Apps technology for regular apps last year, combining its existing Android platform with download mechanisms derived from the web. Apps are streamed instantaneously over the Internet, so you don't need to install them to your device.
This model now includes games in the Google Play store. Games that support Google Play Instant will now show a new "Try" button next to their install link. Tapping the button streams the game from the web. Its splash screen should appear almost immediately, with the content arriving a few seconds later.
As the "try" branding implies, you can't use an Instant game indefinitely. Because most games require sizeable content downloads, streaming an entire title would consume a large amount of bandwidth. The Instant experience showcases a small portion of the game's content. Once you've exhausted the Instant Game, you can choose to install the regular app to acquire the full title.
Google's pitching Instant Games as a way for players to find new titles and play games for short periods on the go. As Instant Games don't require any storage space, they're ideal for infrequent players who don't want to add another app to their device. The Instant format allows players to try before they download or buy, providing a glimpse into the gameplay beyond what's offered by screenshots or videos.
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"To make it even easier to dive right in and enjoy new apps and games on Android devices, we're introducing Google Play Instant," said Google. "With Google Play Instant, you can just tap and try a game without having to download it first – whether you're looking to storm a castle on Clash Royale or become a wordmaster with Words with Friends 2. Google Play Instant experiences will be available in the Google Play Store, the Google Play Games app, or wherever game links are shared."
Android is one of the biggest gaming communities with millions of people playing smartphone titles each month. Although Google has never marketed Android as a gaming platform, it has been recently working to improve the experience for developers and players. Play Instant is another way for it to make Android games more accessible while improving the platform's visibility. Launching a game is now as simple as sharing a web link.
The first Instant Games are available from today on phones with the latest version of Google Play Services installed. The technology's currently in a closed beta phase, so only selected developers can include it. There's currently a small selection of titles that have added Instant Game support, including Clash Royale, Bubble Witch 3 Saga and Final Fantasy XV.
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