Google Play Instant is now officially up and running, with six featured games that you can try out from right within the Play Store without having to commit to a download. The apps can be booted up instantly from their listings in the Play Store or the Play Games app, and you'll be given a sample of the gameplay to try out. Getting an app going with Google Play Instant is fast and fluid, and will drop you right into the gameplay without having to sign in or register. Once you've had your fill of the demo, you can choose to install the game or pass on it.
There are a few things to note with this new functionality. For starters, the available stable of games at the outset consists of only six; Clash Royale, Words With Friends 2, Solitaire, Bubble Witch Saga 3, Mighty Battles, and Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire. Google says that more will come. The Google Play Instant function will drop you into a game so you can experience what the game's like and see if it's a good fit for you, but for now, the demo content for each entry is a bit bare bones, and progress can't be saved or passed on to the full app. Given how Google Play Instant works, of course, this could change in the future; developers may allow players to transition from Instant to the full game seamlessly with an in-app download, for example, or the Instant content could serve as a prologue to the full game.
The way it all works is deceptively simple. Google Play has a special store of files for each Instant-enabled app or game that holds a compressed, barebones set of game assets for that demo and nothing more. Devices are fed that data and it runs within a container app that's created on-the-fly on a user's device. After the demo plays through, the data is discarded. The container app stays in the Recent Apps carousel, but the data is gone, so clicking on the app will redownload the data and compile it for another go. It may be possible to store the data in RAM on some higher end devices, but none of the currently available Instant games do so.