Google at its Google for Games Developer Summit recently had some big news for Android gamers. Google has declared that Android 12 will feature a ‘Play As You Download’ model for games which will grant you to hop on to a game before it’s downloaded entirely.
This feature isn’t groundbreaking as such as it can be found in several places outside of Android. From PC games like World of Warcraft, FIFA 21, Call Of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege, and many other titles on console, Play As You Download been around for a while now.
⏱️⬇️ "Play as you download" reduces download times, lets your players into games sooner, and requires minimal engineering changes!
— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) July 12, 2021
The hallmark for Android 12 should work just like it does on other platforms. You must first download the files needed to play the game before downloading the rest of the files that are not essential to the play experience.
It is worth noting that this isn’t the same as ‘Instant Apps,’ which essentially let you launch lighter apps or games without requiring them to be installed. ‘Play as You Download’ is a feature geared primarily toward more giant games and takes a considerably long time to download in its entirety.
In the Google docs, it’s noted that developers will be able to test out this feature in a beta version. As of yet, there hasn’t been any word on a public beta for end users, so most people may not be able to try it out until they get Android 12.
First, developers will have to hop on board and support this feature. Even after Android 12 is rolled out, Play as You Download won’t mean much if no games support it. That being said, with Google readying a developer beta, it’s unlikely that there won’t be any games that support the feature when Android 12 rolls out, especially since mobile games today download several gigabytes in assets.