It’s not clear if this is just for the Pixel 6a or if third-party phones will get it as well
Google has confirmed that its Game Dashboard feature will be coming to more phones in the future through Play Services, but it’s unclear which phones might get it. The feature will require Android 13 to work through this new mechanism, and a representative speaking on behalf of Google previously told Android Police that the Pixel 6a would get the feature as part of its Android 13 update, so it’s not immediately clear if this news means third-party devices will get it or not.
The change was announced as part of Google’s System Updates, which document changes to things like Play Services that roll out to Google-certified phones through mechanisms other than system updates. Google confirms in the most recent changes to the July 2022 version of the changelog that more phones will get the previously Pixel-exclusive feature. But because of some recent context regarding the Google Pixel 6a, it’s not clear if that means third-party devices will be getting it or not.
- [Phone] Game Dashboard lets you choose longer battery life or higher performance, block out calls and notifications when playing, access Play Games achievements, and more. Available on select devices running Android T.
We knew that the feature was coming to Play Services before, as the changes were spotted in development over recent months. The assumption at the time was that the feature might start to make its way to other Android devices. It was initially part of the Android 12 update for Pixel phones and limited to them. Many other Android skins have their own versions of similar features. Game Dashboard allows you to do things like livestream, turn on an FPS counter, disable notifications, and set a performance profile while gaming — improving battery life or performance as you require.
Google’s announcement makes it sound like the feature might be coming to third-party devices at first glance, but some extra context might indicate otherwise. During my review of the Pixel 6a, I noticed that the phone did not have the Game Dashboard feature, although other Pixels do. A representative speaking on behalf of Google explained that the feature would eventually come to the phone but that it would arrive later as part of its Android 13 update.
Today’s announcement that the feature will come to “select devices” on Android 13 could be nothing more than additional confirmation the Pixel 6a will get it, although it doesn’t rule out the possibility that some other third-party phones may still see it — we’ll just have to wait and see.
According to Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahman, Game Dashboard’s implementation through Play Services requires a handful of APIs and API changes that weren’t a part of the Android system itself in Android 12. While the feature was implemented through a Pixel-specific system app on Android 12, moving it to Play Services meant adjusting how things worked at a system level slightly, making it Android 13-dependent.
It’s surprisingly obnoxious to enable the Game Dashboard on your Pixel phone, but it’s worth familiarizing yourself with it if you’re big into mobile gaming, as it can be a handy way to stretch out your battery life when you’re in the middle of a match.