Windows translator makes PC games run on Android — Fallout 4 demoed at 30 fps using Winlator app

ETA PRIME running his GOG copy of Fallout 4: GOTY Edition on his Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 (also tested on Android handhelds).
ETA PRIME running his GOG copy of Fallout 4: GOTY Edition on his Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 (also tested on Android handhelds). (Image credit: ETA PRIME on YouTube)

As spectacular as PC is as a gaming platform, few can argue the sheer market penetration and hardware power of current-generation Android devices— but their Arm architecture and non-Windows OS mostly lock them into their own ecosystem outside of PC. Fortunately, this is starting to change, as highlighted by a Fallout 4 testing run and setup tutorial by the ever-intrepid ETA PRIME on YouTube. It seems that an existing open source solution called Winlator (a la 'Windows translator') already pushes us most of the way toward viable Windows gaming on Android devices.

But now that we've gotten the good news out of the way, we need to start digging into brass tacks and caveats. First up, you aren't going to be using Winlator with your Steam library or any other major Digital Rights Management (DRM)-focused storefronts. Any games or other Windows applications you attempt to run using Winlator need to be DRM-free, which currently means this is an avenue only available to pirates and GOG users.

Besides that, this process, of course, requires several more steps and minutes of setup than your typical gaming PC, Steam Deck, or other alternative handheld PCs. While the final result does indeed work, and we're able to see 30 FPS stable in Fallout 4 on current-generation Android hardware, ETA PRIME still needed to make graphics settings changes to an .ini configuration file to achieve desirable play.

So, while playing some Windows games on Android is now definitely viable through Winlator, you're pretty much sacrificing all of the accessibility that would normally come with Android gaming and introducing yet more complexity into the already sometimes frustrating PC gaming environment.

Progress on gaming solutions that help us move away from Windows is always nice to see, though. Valve's Proton for Steam Deck and Linux PCs has been fairly successful in that regard, and Winlator actually builds on existing FOSS (Free and Open Source) software like DVVK, Wine, Box86, and more to achieve its results on Android.

Freelance News Writer
  • linuxdude
    To cite the github page: "... with Wine and Box86/Box64"
    So actually those projects deserve the credit, they did almost all of the really hard word.
    Reply
  • palladin9479
    It's an interesting integration project, taking all the previous pieces and parts and turning them into a single interface layer.
    Reply
  • palladin9479
    linuxdude said:
    To cite the github page: "... with Wine and Box86/Box64"
    So actually those projects deserve the credit, they did almost all of the really hard word.

    Hmm not really, the work was integrating all these different systems together into a single abstraction interface. Stitching the environment emulation from WINE with the machine emulation from Box86/64 along with using DXVK to convert DirectX into Vulkan graphics calls is not an easy task.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    So, while playing some Windows games on Android is now definitely viable through Winlator, you're pretty much sacrificing all of the accessibility that would normally come with Android gaming and introducing yet more complexity into the already sometimes frustrating PC gaming environment.
    Why do you make it seem as not worth it? Yes, it takes some setup, but early days emulation aleays does. And it's Windows on Android, it will take a very long time (if ever) for this to be smooth and integrate DRM.

    Also, GOG sells DRM-free games legally, so it's only logical to name it before pirates. It sound like an alternative to pirating, and not the other way around.

    Thanks for the news, I really liked that it exists, and will try it soon. But beware of the opinion part in a news article, it feels like you are discouraging people (and then it's not news, it's opinion).
    Reply
  • TheyCallMeContra
    salgado18 said:
    Why do you make it seem as not worth it? Yes, it takes some setup, but early days emulation aleays does. And it's Windows on Android, it will take a very long time (if ever) for this to be smooth and integrate DRM.

    Also, GOG sells DRM-free games legally, so it's only logical to name it before pirates. It sound like an alternative to pirating, and not the other way around.

    Thanks for the news, I really liked that it exists, and will try it soon. But beware of the opinion part in a news article, it feels like you are discouraging people (and then it's not news, it's opinion).

    I don't believe it's my job to blindly promote every cool thing I write about without being critical of its caveats. I brought it to your attention, right? Your opinion is yours to form, not mine.

    My very next paragraph also points out that this exists to "help move us away from Windows" and directly cited related efforts, so I don't know where you're getting this "not worth it" verdict from when I never said it. That's for individual readers to decide with an educated opinion, not me and not you.
    Reply