Android 12 brought several revamped features to the table, both in design and functionality. Now Google has announced a new option on Android 12, during the Google for Games Developers Summit 2021, that will allow you to play your favourite games while they download in the background.
Google calls the innovation “play as you download” which makes it possible to start a game while the download is still in progress. This new function promises to be especially useful in games whose installation requires the download of very large files.
All you have to do is download the game engine, the user interface, the first level and, if necessary, the start sequence. Most of the time, the largest amounts of data relate to other areas of a game such as other levels, graphics, sound, music and finished video clips. With this new functionality, 400 MB game can be playable half the time of what it used to be.
The feature will be available in games that use the Play Asset Delivery system on Android 12. The reason is that with Android 12, Google is introducing a new app bundle format as well as a new file system called Incremental FS, which is required for this.
Through this distribution method, Legacy Expansion Files (OBB) are replaced in games that weigh more than 150MB. According to Google, developers who already use this technology in their games will not have to perform any additional steps to activate the option. However, the company will also be able to make available a new Android game development kit with the necessary tools for implementation.
It is already Google’s third attempt to speed up the installation of Android games in particular. First came the streaming apps function in 2015, followed by instant apps in 2018. So far none of the mentioned attempts by Google has really caught on.