The new Android 14 software update for Android phones, which is expected to arrive in the near future, is expected to lock out old apps and sideloading in an effort to keep customers from getting malware on their devices. That means that developers who offer games via the Google Play store either must get up to the challenge or will have to sell their games somewhere else.
Some developers have been able to bypass Android and Google Play's guidelines by using previous versions of the system to sideload games or run APK downloads. The new API, which will be released shortly after the Android 14 update, is expected to make this much easier, with more restrictions on what version of software you should be running.
Thanks to 9to5Google's reporting, we know that the first step toward getting rid of these malicious apps from Android devices has already taken place, with the Google Play store getting an update this month to make all apps applicable for only Android 12 or later versions. So, if you're already using an older version, it's time to upgrade.
We don't know when Android 14 will be released on phones, but everything currently indicates a Q2/Q3 2023 release. That means you've got a few months to think about how to deal with the end of sideloading, provided someone out there doesn't discover a bizarre new way to make old apps work. Though, I wouldn't bet against them.
All you need to know about Android 14 is that it will make sideloading a thing of the past. Check out our what is Apple Arcade, what is Slack, and what is Zoom guides.