We make no secret of the fact that we kind of love Android as a gaming platform. Sure, we have our reservations, but, at the end of the day, it’s brought us countless hours of joy – be it a cross-platform release, port, exclusive, or an emulated classic.
But, as ever, we want it to be better. So we’re going to take a look at five specific things we want to see on Android in 2020. We’re not going to go crazy – we’ll stick to ideas that are legitimately possible. So no, there won’t be see-through screens or a phone that you can insert directly into your eyeball.
5 Things We Want to See on Android in 2020
A True Apple Arcade Competitor
Let’s start with the obvious: iOS has taken a bit of a leap forward this year thanks to Apple Arcade. If you haven’t heard of this yet, it’s basically a Netflix for games subscription service. For a mere $5 per month, you get over 100 quality games to play as much as you want. Many of them feature controller support and all of them are playable offline and feature no IAPs or advertisements whatsoever.
Google did release the Google Play Pass as a reaction, providing you with a similar experience by bundling a bunch of premium releases that were already available on the platform and serving them up for the same price of $5. The problem is, there’s nothing really new on there and it pales in comparison to Apple Arcade’s curated list of exclusives.
The Google Play Pass should remain, as it offers good value for money and a deep library of mobile gaming classics, but we’d like to see a closer competitor to Apple Arcade. Even if it starts small, we’d like to see Google focus on picking up a few exclusives of its own and create a curated platform full of quality experiences that you can only play on Android.
A Decent Streaming Platform
2019 saw the release of Google Stadia, which was an unmitigated disaster. The service was plagued with problems and poor decision-making, including a small library, serving up games a la carte, a weird interface that requires a mobile device to make purchases, and iffy performance that doesn’t quite reach true 4K at 60 FPS.
It’s the general consensus that Google Stadia does provide a console gaming experience without the actual box, but everything surrounding it is a bit rubbish. We want Google to either perfect the Stadia platform by providing a much bigger library of games that you can play with a single subscription, or for a competitor to do the same.
As things stand, it looks most likely that Microsoft will be the one to provide it with xCloud, which promises to have the complete Game Pass library as part of the subscription cost. If Microsoft can provide that and Apple the same (albeit without streaming) with Apple Arcade, then there’s no reason that Google can’t either.
More Console Ports and Simultaneous Releases
Mobile is an incredibly powerful platform that’s capable of so much more than we’ve seen so far. Many of today’s phones are at least as powerful as the original Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, so there’s absolutely no reason that we can’t see more ports or simultaneous.
It’s a real shame that mobile doesn’t get the same care that Switch does – a platform that every developer wants to get their games on. Many of these ports would work a charm on mobile, and we’d like to see them. Skyrim on mobile anyone? It’s on everything else!
Better yet though, we’d like to see more simultaneous releases. Fortnite in particular has proven that a game can coexist on mobile, PC, and console, and we’d like to see it taken seriously as a launch platform. Apex Legends and Dauntless are apparently coming in 2020, but it would have been nice to have seen them launch on mobile originally.
Less Pay to Win and Autoplay
We won’t hold our breath for this one but we would definitely like to see a lot less of the worst mobile tropes in 2020. We want to see less pay to win and more genuine gameplay experiences. We’re a bit tired of games that play themselves and require money to progress. We don’t mind free to play generally, but we’d like to see more optional cosmetics and less buying accessories to increase power.
Mostly, we’d like to see a mobile MMORPG put some pressure on Old School RuneScape. It’s one of the few in the genre on mobile that actually requires your input on mobile and entirely avoids pay to win. We’d like to see something a little bit more modern that doesn’t feature any pay to win or autoplay, and we’ll happily pay for it.
The most likely candidate at this point is Warhammer Odyssey, which is under development by the Celtic Heroes devs. Celtic Heroes offers a World of Warcraft-style experience that features no autoplay and is less reliant on pay to win, but it’s starting to show its age at this point.
A Switch-like Dock and TV Interface
It’s very possible to have a Switch-like experience on Android by simply hooking your phone up to your TV, but we’d really like to see the process get a lot easier. What we want is a Switch-like dock that you can simply slot your phone into and pick up a controller to select from your library of games or perhaps even watch a TV show.
The lack of a genuine TV interface is what’s holding this process back at this point, and it can’t be that difficult to achieve. Make it happen, Google!