• Samsung Game Launcher vs. Google Play Games: Which is Best For Android Gaming?

    If you’re an Android gamer and are using a Samsung Galaxy phone, you’ll have access to two built-in apps for managing your games: Samsung Game Launcher and Google Play Games.

    Which of these two game launchers is the best for enhancing your mobile gaming experience? Let’s take a look.

    Library Management

    One of the main benefits of using a game launcher is that it can organize all your mobile game apps in one place. Samsung Game Launcher shows apps in a tray and lets you drag and drop them for a custom arrangement. You can also sort them alphabetically or by most recent.

    Users can also adjust the icon sizes between Normal (default) or Small, as well as choosing whether the apps tray should be pulled up when Game Launcher is launched or not.

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    Crucially, Game Launcher lets you hide games from the apps screen, displaying them only within the launcher itself. For the games that show up in your library, you can still hide them if you want. This level of control over the library’s organization, as well as the accessibility of the library tray, allows you to get to your apps quickly and easily.

    Meanwhile, in Google Play Games, the placement and size of installed apps mean you have to do a lot of swiping to get to a game if it isn’t one of your two most recent. Google Play Games does have a library tab, but it still gives installed games a single row.

    The rest of the space lists games you’ve played before that aren’t currently installed. It lets you choose games to hide in the launcher, but it doesn’t let you customize the way they’re organized and you can’t hide their icons in the apps screen.

    Best For Library Management: Samsung Game Launcher

    Greater control over how you organize your games

    Option to hide apps outside the launcher

    More accessible library

    Social Integration

    Google Play Games integrates social connections into your gaming, adding a friends list, an XP system, and achievement tracking. It will even tell you which achievements are common and which are worth bragging over.

    You can compare your level and achievements with a friend, and Play Games will not send any extra advertisements or notifications to people you add.

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    Though you still have the option in some games to request extra lives or other bonuses through social media, this is separate from Play Games’ friends system.

    If you like engaging in fan communities, Play Games also pulls up a feed on each game page, consisting of YouTube videos, Reddit posts, and more that are related to the selected game. This puts fandom at your fingertips and lets you swap tips, achievements, and game news much more easily.

    Google Play Games also lets you record your games, or stream them to YouTube. The recording function adds an optional face-cam bubble, as well as options to toggle external sound recording.

    Game Launcher focuses on tracking your individual progress and habits. It can track how long and how frequently you play games, which helps if you’re trying to limit your screen time. It also recommends a YouTube video on each game information page, but is focused more on managing your own gaming experience than sharing it.

    On each game’s page, you can compare your stats to the "average Galaxy gamer," but not to specific people. It doesn’t track achievements, either, and has no software for streaming. However, it will allow you to link Game Launcher to Discord, to display what you’re playing as a status.

    Game Launcher also adds a Discord shortcut into the launcher itself, but it doesn’t open the Discord app, it just runs through the launcher. If you want to return to the launcher, you’ll have to close and re-open. It’s not clear at this time whether this is a bug or a feature.

    Best For Social Integration: Google Play Games

    Friends network

    Achievement tracking

    Competitive comparison

    Allows you to stream your games

    Social media feed

    New Game Discovery

    Both launchers offer "Instant Play" features that allow you to try a game out without installing it, but they differ in the selection and options available in these features.

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    Samsung’s Game Launcher displays the top Galaxy Store gaming apps, severely limiting its selection. As well, its discovery search feature limits you to one filter at a time. The "Hot instant plays" shortcut, as well as the Arcade, Dragging, Merging, and One hand categories on the home screen only link back to the search screen with the relevant filter selected.

    Google Play Games, on the other hand, focuses so much on showing you new stuff that the games you’ve already installed get less screen space. Its Instant Play section draws from the Google Play Store, and despite the Galaxy Store promising to focus more on gaming, you’re still more likely to find what you want in the Play Store.

    Google also lets you add as many filters as you want for your suggestions, and has a unique "playlist" feature that lets you try Instant Plays back-to-back, like channel-surfing but for mobile games.

    If you want to see more about a game before trying it out, a tap opens the app’s Play Store page in a pop-up, so you can review the description, reviews, and more without leaving the Play Games app.

    This increased selection and information allow you to select games you are more likely to enjoy, which in turn increases the app’s ability to recommend good games for you.

    Best For New Game Discovery: Google Play Games

    Playlists of Instant Play Apps

    Uses Google Play Store rankings

    Filtered Search Results

    Easy Access to the Play Store

    Samsung Game Launcher or Google Play Games?

    Overall, whether you should use Samsung’s Game Launcher or Google Play Games depends on what kind of mobile gamer you are. If you like discovering new games, competing with friends, and sharing your game experience via streaming or social media, then Google Play Games is your best bet.

    On the other hand, if you want a streamlined launcher that helps you organize your phone and still access your games quickly for a more focused experience, you’ll be happier with Samsung Game Launcher.

    Whichever you decide to use, a strong game launcher is the first step toward turning your phone into a gaming powerhouse.

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