BlueStacks X will bring Android games to Windows
BlueStacks is launching a new cloud service that allows users to play Android games on any computer or smartphone – filling the “vacuum” created by Microsoft’s failure to bring Android apps to Windows 11.
When Microsoft announced Windows 11 in early summer, one of the most surprising promised features was support for Android apps. However, Microsoft has failed to deliver on its promise and will launch Windows 11 next week without the Android apps. Although Microsoft insists Android apps will arrive later, it’s yet to even trial the facility with Windows beta testers.
In the meantime, BlueStacks aims to fill the gap in two ways. The BlueStacks desktop client has long emulated Android apps on Windows PCs, allowing users to install apps from the Google Play Store and run them on their PCs and laptops.
That will continue alongside the new cloud service, BlueStacks X, which will offer more than 200 games when it launches today. With BlueStacks X, there’s no need to install anything locally, games are effectively streamed as they are with services such as Google Stadia and Microsoft’s own Xbox Cloud Gaming.
BlueStacks X works on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chromebooks and other platforms, and will be free. The company supports the service by running pre-roll ads before gaming sessions begin.
The service will also be integrated with Discord, so gamers can launch games on their device simply by clicking a link in a Discord chat.
Android games are now available in the cloud
Bluestacks CEO Rosen Sharma says the launch of BlueStacks X is not a direct response to Microsoft’s failure to launch Android apps and that it has been three years in the making. Nevertheless, he says his company can take advantage of the gap Microsoft has created.
“Microsoft did us a great favor,” said Sharma. “They created this giant vacuum with no product to sell.”
Sharma believes Microsoft may have underestimated the complexity of bringing Android apps to Windows. “It’s actually a really tough space,” he said.
“Seventy thousand apps are played on BlueStacks [desktop app] and that’s across so many different machines – there are so many different PCs. It’s like the Android fragmentation problem, but a hundred times [worse]. That’s why I’m not surprised that Microsoft was not able to ship this. Even when Apple bought iOS to Mac, a lot of developers actually turned their apps off.”
BlueStacks X is, according to Sharma, the first time a company has attempted to deliver mobile games – as opposed to console/PC games – via a streaming service. And those who may benefit most are people who don’t have high-end smartphones.
Sharma cites examples of popular mobile games such as Genshin Impact or Hearthstone, which both require massive initial downloads, leaving many users short on storage space, and then frequently deliver large updates, delaying the gaming experience and potentially running up large mobile data bills.
Crucially, streaming also removes the need for children to have expensive, powerful handsets to play the latest games. “With the cloud, if you want to try something new all your friends can try it almost immediately,” said Sharma. “And I think that’s really powerful.”
The challenge for BlueStacks will be adding support for the most popular mobile games, which are currently few and far between on the beta. Sharma says the company is working with developers to bring more titles to BlueStacks X.
I have been a technology writer and editor for more than 20 years. I was assistant editor of The Sunday Times’ technology section, editor of PC Pro magazine and have
I have been a technology writer and editor for more than 20 years. I was assistant editor of The Sunday Times’ technology section, editor of PC Pro magazine and have written for more than a dozen different publications and websites over the years. I’ve also appeared as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten.
Hit me up if you’ve got a tech story that needs breaking at [email protected]