We recently announced the launch of the new version of Bluestacks, whose main new feature is the incorporation of Android Nougat for the first time on PC, and you can download it now through Uptodown. As a result of the interest generated by our announcement, we were able to talk to Yuriy Yarovoy, Bluestacks’ director of marketing, and get his take on the strengths of the new version of their software.
Pioneers of Android Nougat on PC
As we’ve seen in our first tests with the beta, there is a tangible difference in performance when running games on the new version, which leads faster loading speeds (of as much as 25% on some titles) thanks to an improvement in the consumption of system resources. Here is how Yuriy sums up the improvement:
“There are several benefits to working with Nougat. The most obvious is compatibility. There are more and more developers leaving behind Android Kit-Kat as a minimum requirement for their titles, like Netmarble or Square Enix, whose games also have higher graphics requirements that use more resources in Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Our system’s Hyper-G graphics engine was developed to take advantage of the most advanced APIs used for games on Android, converting them into a graphics library understood by Windows and creating a much better emulation than our competitors.”
A business model where everyone wins
Since we don’t want to repeat the same questions from the interview a few weeks ago, we tried to find out about the focus of their work. Do they try to support the greatest number of games possible, or center their efforts in improving the Android emulation of a few specific hit games? The answer was a mix of the two:
“It’s a two step process. First we improve the quality of the platform in general, making many more titles compatible by simply improving the emulation system. On the other hand, we’ve keep a close eye on the most successful titles worldwide. Fortunately, we have an enormous research team that can identify the needs of each market over time, focusing primarily on hit games. Granted in recent months we’ve centered our efforts much more in hardcore games than casual ones, since more demanding players tend to be the ones who search for Bluestacks to play. Lineage 2 Revolution by Netmarble is a great game, but it can eat through your device’s battery in just 10 minutes. Our software is the best way to enjoy their favorite games for longer.”
On that we can all agree, and it was becoming clearer that Yuriy Yarovoy knew what he was talking about, and how to position Bluestacks as a decentralized tool that can advocate for a better gaming experience. I wanted to dig deeper into the scope of the project, so I asked if they collaborate directly with studios to support their games:
“It’s a combination of several factors. We work closely with development studios, although I can’t give details into how many or who. What is clear is that developers see the value in our platform as another way to enjoy their games. They’re influenced by factors like the fact that average play times and retention ratios are 50% higher than on mobile devices. Just to give an example.“
He wouldn’t name and names, but it was clear that developers, after seeing the numbers, were open to collaborating with them to improve the compatibility of their titles. In fact, to give you an idea of the scale of the product, one of the many mind blowing stats he shared with me was this: In just a single day, users in Taiwan racked up 1.3 million hours on Bluestacks.
The future: unification of platforms
We talked about many other games, like Supercell’s hits or games that are making more appearances in the west, like the MOBA title Arena of Valor. He also defended the rights of users to enjoy their favorite games even though they are blocked by region locks in Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Although currently the list of games in Bluestacks’ start menu redirects to Google’s platform, it appears that they are keeping their options open.
“Although PC sales have stagnated, looking just at the gaming segment of the market you can see an enormous growth in the number of gamers on the platform. We want Bluestacks users to forget that they are playing a mobile game on their PC – that they are simply sitting down with a game that they love independent of the system or machine that it’s running on. In the end all you’re doing is playing. If you look at the Chinese market for example, you have to keep in mind that there is no Google Play there. There are hundreds of marketplaces, each one with their own app distribution system. We don’t care which platform you download your games from, as long as you play. We respect all download sources, and we aren’t going to add any locks in that respect. That’s not our job.”
As for the launch of the final version of Bluestacks 4 (he wouldn’t confirm the name), there still is no approximate launch date. The current beta is not compatible with AMD processors and needs the VT virtualization of Intel processors to work. It also requires a relatively powerful machine to run the most expansive titles. You have to keep in mind that engines like the Unreal Engine are becoming standard on recent releases on Android.
Bluestacks isn’t exactly a small project. With several rounds of funding from tech giants over the course of its lifetime, in December 2017 they had 250 million users, making them the leading tool in running Android apps on PC.