Android 12: start a game before the end of its download, as on PS5 and Xbox

On the left, the game finishes downloading before launching. On the right, the game can be launched before the end of the download.

Android 12 will allow players to start part of a new game even before it is fully downloaded to the smartphone. This new feature is largely based on a feature that Xbox and PlayStation players have been enjoying for several years.

If you are a player on PlayStation (4 or 5) or Xbox (One or Series), this scene will surely tell you something. You want to play a new game. After a little window shopping on the PlayStation Store or on the Xbox Store, you come across a triple A game on sale that makes you look good. Not one or two, you decide to buy it and download it on your console. But here, a triple A game, it weighs heavy. And even with fiber optics, it takes time to download everything.

Fortunately, for several years now, very large games have a new feature that allows you to start a game with after downloading a part of the full game. The idea is simple: you start by downloading the essential files (3D engine, system graphics, database, launch animations, etc.) and the textures of the first level. Once this is done, you can start playing while the rest of the game continues to be downloaded in the background. It’s very convenient.

ANDROID 12 LETS YOU PLAY A GAME WHILE IT DOWNLOADS

On a smartphone, this is not yet the case. Firstly, because most games do not require such a feature: they remain much lighter than games console. Their download takes less time. Then because Google had not yet had the idea to adapt this system to Android. This will be done with Android 12. The firm announces the implementation of a feature called «Play As You Download», an extension of Play Asset Delivery unveiled a year ago.

“Play as you download” reduces download times, lets your players into games sooner, and requires minimal engineering changes!

See how it’s available in #Android12 now at this LIVE #GoogleforGames session → https://t.co/REy73uWEVU pic.twitter.com/HvL7YKqyFv

— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) July 12, 2021

As its name suggests, it is a system that allows you to release certain resources from a game and launch them before the whole game is downloaded. Of course, this is only compatible with games that will support this feature. It will therefore be necessary for developers to include it from the design of their application.

This feature was featured at the Google for Games Developer Summit this week. This event is an opportunity to discover the new functions of Android dedicated to the game. A new dashboard has been announced for those who like, among other things, capturing photos and videos of their games.

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