Just like Apple did in 2017, Google has announced their own plans for transitioning Android development from 32 to 64-bit. You can read more on their developer blog post but the important date for us is August 1st, 2021. That’s the date that the Google Play store will stop serving apps and games that don’t offer an up-to-date edition to 64-bit devices. There’s an exemption that will protect Wear OS and Android TV apps, and one big caveat that might make the delistings a little less painful.
According to their post, the 64-bit requirement doesn’t apply to “APKs or app bundles that are not distributed to devices running Android 9 Pie or later”. So if you’ve got an Android phone that hit its end-of-life a few years back, you might want to charge it up and download some of your favorite old games for safekeeping. It sounds like, as long as the apps weren’t updated to support some of the latest versions of Android, they’ll still be available on those older devices.
However, for the majority of Android users — those with never 64-bit devices — the Google Play store may soon be lacking some of their favorite old games. Android has been a platform for games and apps since 2008 and there are no doubt tens of thousands of developers who are no longer around or capable of bringing their old offerings up to date. For that Android majority, come August 2021 these apps will essentially be nonexistent.
I’ve added the date to the Watch List calendar.