Windows users will soon have a way of sampling new games without downloading them, a new feature called “Instant Games” that will be introduced as part of the upcoming Windows 11 update.
The new feature is rolling out in preview, apparently as part of a Microsoft Store update that will coincide with the Windows 23H2 release rolling out over the next few weeks.
The new Instant Games appears to work similarly to a feature already in Android: Instant Play, part of a feature called Google Play Instant. In both Android and Windows, the “Instant” portion means that selecting a new supported game to play will bypass the typical download and install process for immediate gratification. Not surprisingly, the Instant Play feature requires a game to be relatively small — less than 15MB, in the case of the Android app. Will Windows’ Instant Games feature work similarly? It seems likely.
In a blog post authored by Microsoft consumer marketing chief Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft describes Instant Games as a “new experience that allows you to jump in and instantly play your favorite casual game directly from the Microsoft Store on Windows without the need to download and install on your Windows device,” according to the blog post. “We’ve partnered with game publishers to be able to bring this experience to our collection of casual games.”
Microsoft didn’t say what games will be part of the Instant Games program, but we’d imagine older, legacy games (Hearts? Minesweeper?) could be included, as well as some of the older 8-bit games from the 1980s era. We’ll have to wait and see, however.
Microsoft also said that the Microsoft Store app will be updated to allow users to select specific drives and locations for their game installations. That rollout will debut later this month, Microsoft said.