Google today introduced Google Play Instant, a Play Store feature allowing gamers to play certain games on Android devices without downloading or installing them. This means you don’t have to clear precious storage space to try a new game.
Last year’s Android Instant Apps announcement was a game changer, but it didn’t feature any games. Now, in what appears to be a re-branding, Google Play Instant will feature apps and games.
The feature, which is still in beta, is already active on Google’s Play Store. You can see a partial list of games supported here at the Instant Gameplay page. We’ve found a couple others that have the option as well, here’s the full list so far:
- Clash Royale
- Words with Friends 2
- Bubble Witch 3 Saga
- Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire
- Mighty Battles
Google lists Panda Pop as an instant title, but we weren’t able to confirm this on our devices at the time of writing.
We spoke with Google Play product managers Jonathan Karmel and Benjamin Frenkel who told us the company was working with several developers, including Zynga and Unity, to bring more games to the service throughout the year.
Our attention spans are already stretched to the limits with notifications, advertisements, and thousands of other “free” offerings. Speeding up the process of trying a new game is a win for developers and players.
Karmle and Frenkel said Play Instant would help with one of the biggest problems developers face: user dropout. A significant number of people, even after starting an installation, never actually follow-through and play games they’ve downloaded. This means developers are missing out on advertising revenue and players may be missing out on a game they’d enjoy.
The experiences vary from game to game and the Play Instant option doesn’t allow users to play the entire game. For example Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire shows off a quick battle that lasts a few seconds, while Bubble Witch 3 Saga features a few full levels. After trying a game users have the option to install the game or simply exit.
This feature should be standard operating procedure for developers in the future. We tested it on a few different Android devices and it worked flawlessly for each of the above-listed games. With broader adoption it’s easy to imagine the Instant Gameplay section of the Play Store being the first place gamers look for new games to try out.
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