How can I play Google Play Games on a PC?

Google Play Games Asphalt 9 screenshot
Bring your Asphalt 9 gameplay to a PC

Do you have a favourite mobile game that you wouldn’t mind playing on a bigger screen PC? Google is bringing its vast library of Android games to the PC. It’s got the slightly clunky title of Google Play Games, but if you fancy playing your phone favourites on a larger screen, here is how to play Google Play Games on a PC.

How do I download Google Play games on a PC?

Google games are written for devices that run Android, so it’s not possible to download and run them directly from the Google Play store. Fear not, those opportunistic folk at Google have built an emulator which will do the heavy lifting. Before we begin, there are a couple of things to check.

Will my PC be able to run Google Play Games?

The hardware required to play Google Play Games on a PC is rather modest. The table below lists the requirements:

Minimum requirementRecommended for
better gameplay performance
OSWindows 10 (v2004)Windows 10 (v2004)
StorageSolid state drive (SSD) with 10 GB
of available storage space
Solid state drive (SSD) with 10 GB
of available storage space
Memory8 GB of RAM8 GB of RAM
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 630 GPU or comparableGaming-class GPU, like Nvidia GeForce MX450
Processor4 CPU physical cores (some games require an Intel CPU)8 logical cores (some games require an Intel CPU)
Other requirementsWindows admin account
Hardware virtualization must be turned on
Windows admin account
Hardware virtualization must be turned on

The magic part of this process relies on a technology called virtualisation. Most modern PCs have virtualisation switched on within the BIOS, but if you’re having problems, follow our guide, How do I enter the BIOS on my PC, and double check the CPU Virtualisation is switched on.

As this is a Google product, you will need a free Google account.

Download Google Play Games

Download and run the Google Play Games installer. You’ll notice that it’s a beta product, so whilst it’s not the final version, it certainly runs well on the machine I’ve tested it with. That said, think carefully before running it on the company’s payroll PC.

Google Play Games Welcome Screen

Whilst the installer is running, it will present a few prompts and also ask to sign into a Google Account.

Google Play Games Profile Screen

At the first screen, confirm your profile and if it looks anything like mine, make a mental note to change your Google Play avatar. Read and accept the next pages of terms and after a moment, the main page will appear.

Google Play Games Additional Settings

Look towards the bottom left. The installer requires additional settings before it can download Google Play games on a PC. Click Continue.

Google Play Games Profile Screen

Depending on your setup, your machine will download a few extras, but eventually display a pop-up requesting a quick restart. Click OK and the machine will restart. You’re now ready to play. Click the Google Play Games beta icon on the desktop.

Can I play any Android game on a PC?

Google Play Games Additional Settings

No, or at least not yet. The Google Play Games software will display a list of the games which are available. It’s certainly nowhere near the full complement you’ll find on the Google Play store, but this is only a beta product. However, there are some popular titles here, such as Asphalt 9.

Google Play Games Asphalt 9 loading screen

Seemingly, the games are substantially more than the Android versions, ported to run on a PC emulator. Mobile games run with touch ‘n’ tilt control systems, which don’t translate well to laptops and desktop. Many of the games that I’ve played have been tweaked to work with mouse and keyboard controls if your machine doesn’t have a touchscreen. Each game listed within the Google Play Games library details if the game is compatible with your system.

Google Play Games Additional Settings

With Asphalt 9, the Google Play Games library reports that the game has been adapted for the PC, including game controls and graphics. This is true and there are two ways of controlling the car from within the game. Both work astonishingly well.

Google Play Games Hitwicket screenshot.

Another game I played, Hitwicket, reported that, ‘This game works with a mouse, but might not be fully optimised for PC’. Despite the warning, the game was intuitive and immensely playable with mouse control.

Can I save my games on Google Play Games?

Yes. Many of the games have the same save and synchronisation options for Facebook and Google accounts as their mobile counterparts. This enables gameplay to begin on one device and then continue on another. Many games already contain purchase mechanisms for paid-for power-ups and loot boxes, and hopefully, as time goes on, developers will add support for game controllers.

Google Play Games is very impressive, despite it being a beta product. The games are polished, and ran on my test machine at full screen resolution without a hitch. It’s certainly worth investigating.

It’s also worth mentioning that some Android games are available directly through the Microsoft Store built into Windows. Click here for our guide to installing Android apps in Windows 11.

About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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