Play Store Alternatives for the Curious Mobile Gamer

Smartphone gaming is increasingly establishing itself as a major player globally. Wherever you look, evidence that these previously side-lined devices are now getting their due as viable gaming platforms worthy of respect is apparent everywhere.

Play Store alternative

For example, analysts DFC Intelligence have found that in emerging regions around the world, from Latin America to Sub-Saharan Africa, gamers are 1.5x likelier to use a smartphone as their primary, or sole, gaming platform. Smartphones are even getting in on the recent esports boom, with mobile-only titles like Free Fire attracting higher viewer numbers for its headline events than even PC mainstays like League of Legends.

The growing possibilities in the mobile gaming space

The modern gaming boom comes as no surprise to those who have already recognized the incredible potential latent in the modern smartphone. From their web-ready access enabling iGaming aficionados to make use of bonus offers on popular slots titles such as those furnished by comparison platform Oddschecker on the go, to triple ‘A’ gaming fans diving into the latest blockbuster titles through cloud streaming services. In 2022, no other platform offers such a range of gameplay experiences.

Part of the reason smartphones get a bad rap in the wider games industry is due to the proliferation of poorly realized freemium titles and shovel-ware populating both the Google Play Store and Apple App Stores, and this is a valid criticism. Yet the discerning smartphone gamer has many more options to draw on when seeking out new gaming experiences.

Below we’re going to take a look at some compelling alternatives to the Google Play Store for Android gamers looking to spread their wings and explore what this platform is capable of today.

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For the privacy-conscious Android user, installing apps from the Play Store is always an uncomfortable compromise. This is because it’s very difficult to be sure that the applications you’re installing do not contain malicious code or spyware. While the majority of such issues can be circumvented through sticking to trusted apps, it’s never a guarantee.

This is where Free and Open Source Software platforms, such as F-Droid come in. This is a volunteer-run app store that is full of exclusively open source apps and games, among which you will find a huge range of emulators to try out.

Google Stadia

Cloud gaming represents a vision of the future. This is because cloud gaming platforms, from Amazon Luna, to Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia, all make use of powerful server-side gaming rigs in order to stream resource-heavy gameplay experiences to their users.

Because the heavy-lifting is done remotely, gamers using these services can access the latest console and PC titles, such as Far Cry 6 and Cyberpunk 2077, from any device with a WiFi connection. This creates the unusual situation wherein smartphone users with devices too old to be capable of running the likes of Call of Duty Mobile or Asphalt 9, can dive into current-gen console games using their mobile web-browsers.

To date, Google Stadia is the lowest-latency and most bug-free example of cloud gaming available to Android users, and as such best represents what this technology is capable of at present.

APKMirror (and more)

Sometimes you can’t find the game you want to play in any app library. This is when it’s time to install APKs directly. APKMirror is perhaps the best-established Android app directory on the internet, in which you can access a huge range of apps and games that you can’t find in the Play Store.

Sometimes this is because certain games are region-locked, and other times it’s because the game was removed from the Play Store at the developers’ request such as in the case of Flappy Bird (which can still be found as an APK). Perhaps the most compelling APK game out there today for Android gamers is now Fortnite, following its removal from the Play Store.

But there are many more surprising and exciting games to find out there, from Dead Space to Battlefield: Bad Company 2.