Streamed game trials have started appearing in the Play Store

I was catching up on my Instapaper queue (I use Reeder 3 to do this on my iOS and macOS devices) and came across this from Android Police about Google having started allowing trials of apps (games, for now) through streaming from the Google Play Store.

“Google started fiddling with app streaming about a year ago via searches in the Google app, but only for a few specific apps. Then, we spotted some evidence of app streaming in a Play Store teardown a couple months ago. It looks like this feature has started rolling out today, allowing you to stream games to try before you buy. One AP staffer in addition to our tipster has this option available already, but it’s a little buggy.
App streaming in the Play Store will be used to offer limited time trials of paid content (apparently just games right now). If this feature is available, a button will show up next to the purchase option that reads “Try Now.” Tap that, and the game will begin streaming. Importantly, this is only a 10-minute trial.”

In the beginning, I thought that this was a great feature (maybe one of the best that Android has to offer) and something that Apple should emulate in their App Store. Then, while I rushed to my keyboard to write about it, I started thinking more about it and realized that it wasn’t that useful for either, developers or users. Game streaming would require an internet connection but I like to download games that I want to try and play them at my convenience (maybe, on an airplane where I don’t have WiFi). Also, developers can include trials of their games right now itself through IAPs (you download the game, play the first couple of stages for free and then pay to unlock the rest if you like it). The one benefit that I do see this feature having is that it’ll help clearly communicate to users that what they are about to experience is a trial and not the entire game. I’ve read of users not being happy about having to pay up after playing a couple of levels and posting negative reviews for games because when they downloaded it, they thought they were downloading the full game.

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Originally published at on October 10, 2016.

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