When an update to Play Games v5.3 came out with a redesigned look back in November, it was missing one big element: Discovery. Users could check out their achievements, browse games they own, and even play some brand new mini-games, but there was barely anything in the app to help you find new games. With the release of v5.5, there's a brand new "Arcade" tab dedicated to just that.
Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)
- New Arcade tab
- Visual adjustments
A brand new bottom nav bar provides the entry point to the new Arcade page. Within it, you'll find sections with an assortment of recommendations. At the top are some popular games, followed by a section with the top five ranked games on the store, and below that is an Editor's Choice section featuring a curated list of games fitting a specific theme – it's currently focused on fighting games.
Near the top of the Arcade tab is a strip of filters that can be used to narrow down the recommendations. You can choose to see just new or trending games, paid games (i.e. Premium), games for kids, and if you drag the filters to the left, there are also options to restrict the list to specific game genres like Action, Strategy, Sports, and several others. That list shows a mix of game icons and actual sample videos, so you can even get an idea of what type of game you're looking at without even tapping on it for more details.
If you don't already have something specific in mind, the Arcade tab is probably a bit better for browsing games than the Play Store itself. There are fewer categories to look through, but the other filtering options allow for a bit more granularity, and the browsing experience is a little friendlier.
Left: old/new landing page. Right: old/new library page.
While the Arcade tab is the major addition for this update, the Play Games team wasn't really finished with fine tuning the visuals in this update. The styling on some buttons and text is still going through some changes since the v5.3 update. I won't enumerate every little tweak, but there are comparison shots above and below with some of the more noticeable changes, particularly the look of the buttons in the first screenshots and the switch from checkboxes to toggles in the last pair.
Left: v5.4. Right: v5.5.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.