"Play as you download" is coming to Android 12, allowing you to play a 400MB game in less...

jsilva

Posts: 176   +1
Staff
Something to look forward to: Imagine how nice it'd be to choose a game in the Google Play Store and be able to play it in a matter of seconds, regardless of size, instead of waiting for it to be fully downloaded. That will be possible on Android 12 thanks to the upcoming "Play as you download" feature that uses Google's in-house streaming technology.

The new game streaming technology was announced during a keynote for Android developers hosted by Greg Hartrell, product management director at Google. "Play as you download" uses an intelligent background download system implemented on Google's end, meaning developers won't have to do a thing to benefit from this feature.

In the video, Google showcases an implementation that lets the user launch and play a game much faster than using traditional methods. The background download system grabs assets to load first based on data collected about "typical first-play experiences, including memory access patterns." In the example presented, a 400MB game is ready to launch after 10 seconds. Hartrell also explains that when the game finishes downloading, the gameplay is not interrupted, but that's all done in the background.

"Play as you download" isn't Google's first take on reducing app launch times. Google Play Instant Apps allowed users to try an app without downloading it, similar to a demo. However, this feature differs in that the developer has to implement it instead of Google handling this.

The new game streaming technology will be part of the Android App Bundle, which will be required for any new Android game published in the Google Play Store starting in August.

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seeprime

Posts: 578   +704
This feature would be great when downloading on fiber optic networks with fast 5G Wi-Fi. On conventional cable, DSL, or cell carrier, I bet there will some buffering, minimal maybe on fast cable, but it likely will be there. So, hurry up and wait!
 

Julio Franco

Posts: 8,803   +1,705
Staff member
This is not as useful a feature as they make it out to be... I mean really, a person can't wait a few minutes for the download to finish?
On a fast connection... sure, I agree. However from a tech standpoint, getting the functionality without any additional coding and Google handling it all, is kind cool if it works as advertised.

Now imagine something similar for PC. Play the first level of game X in 5 minutes, instead of waiting 30 minutes to download and install. By the time you're done, the full game is already available.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 460   +498
This is not as useful a feature as they make it out to be... I mean really, a person can't wait a few minutes for the download to finish?

People nowadays have become mentally ill in their need for instant gratification. Depending on its size I might find even a few hours perfectly acceptable for a game to finish downloading and installing.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 102   +50
What games on android? They are allergic to sd cards. They don’t put slots for sd cards in their phones, they don’t allow the os to run apps from sd card at the phones which they have sd card slots. If a phone can show yt you don’t need to upgrade it ever.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,865   +3,749
TechSpot Elite
On a fast connection... sure, I agree. However from a tech standpoint, getting the functionality without any additional coding and Google handling it all, is kind cool if it works as advertised.

Now imagine something similar for PC. Play the first level of game X in 5 minutes, instead of waiting 30 minutes to download and install. By the time you're done, the full game is already available.
Some PC games do something similar. For example, Eve Online initially downloads only a small part of the game and loads the rest as you play.

This is from their dev blog before they released the update in 2014:
"Today, a full install package for EVE is about 7GB that has to be downloaded and this expands to 12GB once installed. After the change, the initial download package required to play the game will be on the order of 200MB and it expands to about 350MB. This installs the game code without any resources (models, textures, audio and so on). The EVE client itself then downloads resources as it needs them and caches them locally on disk, so any given resource is only downloaded once."
 
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ZedRM

Posts: 616   +386
On a fast connection... sure, I agree. However from a tech standpoint, getting the functionality without any additional coding and Google handling it all, is kind cool if it works as advertised.

Now imagine something similar for PC. Play the first level of game X in 5 minutes, instead of waiting 30 minutes to download and install. By the time you're done, the full game is already available.
While that is a fair point, it's all still just feeding the "gimme-gimme-gimme now-now-now" mentality. Patience is a virtue and it doesn't take a lot to wait a few minutes.