PC gaming on an Android device? Fallout 4 has been shown running decently fast in an exciting hint of the future

ETA Prime getting Fallout 4 to run on Android
(Image credit: ETA Prime)

Full-fat Windows gaming on Android appears to be ever-closer as one clever engineer has managed to get Fallout 4 running at 30 fps on Android through the open-source Winlator emulator. 

As spotted by Tom's Hardware, Winlator is an open-source APK for Android which essentially emulates PC games and apps on the best Android phones and the best Android tablets available. ETA PRIME has taken things a step further by getting the popular action RPG Fallout 4 running natively on a string of devices at playable frame rates. 

It's important to note that the copy of Fallout 4 running through Winlator is the GOG version which is DRM-free, meaning the game can be launched without being tied to an internet connection or account. That effectively rules out getting to boot up your Steam, Ubisoft Connect, Xbox Game Pass, and Epic Games Store accounts, but it's a start. 

The full video tutorial goes through the setup needed which is pretty tricky, and generally not for the faint-hearted. It starts with using the offline backup installer version of Fallout 4 through GOG and then copying over the saves and files to then launch into Winlator. You'll then need to make a new 'container' which sets up the graphics driver, native resolution, audio driver, and DX wrapper, too. So, only the really clued-up need apply here.

All that said, the results speak for themselves. The game can be seen hovering consistently above the 30 fps mark on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 with the settings cranked and resolution at 720p. It's impressive, and we're excited to see what tinkerers and developers can do given more horsepower. 

That's because we aren't too far away from the release of Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite ARM-based processor. This mobile hardware appears to be something of a powerhouse based on the leaks and speculation we've been covering. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside the tablet is no slouch, but it's a fraction of the upcoming processor's power. 

Windows emulation could get more sophisticated 

With the boom in ARM-based silicon in recent years, and mobile hardware becoming more powerful, there's greater potential for more demanding software to run on your smartphone. We've seen the likes of the Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, and Lenovo Legion Go make leaps with native performance, but this could be bettered yet. 

The actual process of loading Windows games onto your phone is extremely far from streamlined at this point, and the reliance on DRM-free content limits what can actually run. However, developments such as this hint at a future where games could be happily played on your Android device, just as we've seen with Apple hardware. 

That's because Apple has been making moves in translating PC games to the iPhone and iPad as we've seen from the likes of Death Stranding, Resident Evil Village, and Assassin's Creed Mirage. The lines between smartphone and PC could be blurring, and while it's clearly early days here, this is another step in the right direction. 

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Aleksha McLoughlin

Aleksha McLoughlin is an experienced hardware writer. She was previously the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming until September 2023. During this time, she looked after buying guides and wrote hardware reviews, news, and features. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of PC Gamer, Trusted Reviews, Dexerto, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.