Windows 11 will allow gamepad use with Android games too

Windows 11 already offers native support for installing and using Android apps, but when it comes to gaming, the mouse and keyboard can’t quite supplant the touch interface on a smartphone screen.

Already in the latest Windows 11 release available for testing through the Windows Insiders channel, support for using gampads could revolutionize the PC gaming experience, allowing users to have fun with popular titles originally developed for Android phones.

In reality, however, it won’t be that simple, as Android developers will also need to add explicit support for gamepads to their games, using the API created as a result of Microsoft’s collaboration with Amazon.

Version 2206.40000.15.0 update to Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) for Insiders adds support for using controllers in Android games. This includes not only gamepads, but also joysticks mapped to conventional WASD keys. Games that use swipe gestures to aim or slide can now be controlled using the keyboard arrow keys. All in all, the Android gaming experience on Windows 11 should be much more comfortable now, assuming the game actually supports controllers and not just touch gestures.

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The update also brings other general improvements, especially for networking, settings, and graphics.

It’s clear that mobile gaming has been a very lucrative business, its main attraction being precisely the ability to play anywhere, anytime. So extending support to Windows 11 laptops and PCs only extends this flexibility, giving Android users a way to enjoy their favourite game on the big screen, enjoying a console-style gaming experience. And with Microsoft also owning its own console gaming platform, the possibilities already seem endless for gamers who have grown bored with dedicated Xbox titles.

However, this “deal” seems to exclude Google, the Android developer. Thus, it wouldn’t be out of the question that Microsoft’s initiative could hit some snags, ensuring that the Android gaming experience doesn’t become all that popular on the PC. For example, even phone manufacturers could stand to lose out if gamers conclude that they can use the power of a PC to enjoy in detail on Ultra the games they would have bought a top smartphone for.

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