The Samsung Game Launcher app on a Galaxy S8.

Samsung was one of the first major smartphone manufacturers to implement gaming-related features on its devices. The Samsung Game Launcher and Samsung Game Tools suite have been around since the Galaxy S7, and can now be found on the likes of the Galaxy S10 too.

The suite is available on all recent phones from the manufacturer, but where do you start? We’ve got you covered with our Samsung Game Launcher guide.

Samsung Game Launcher: The basics

Samsung Game Launcher is accessible from your Samsung phone’s app drawer. Can’t find it? Then try searching for “Game Launcher” via the Finder Search bar at the top of the app menu. If you’re still not seeing the app, you can visit Settings > Advanced features > Game Launcher and toggle the switch to enable it on your device.

Tap on Game Launcher to open the suite, and the app will automatically add games to this folder for ease-of-access. The app will also ask if you want to hide said games from the app drawer, making it accessible via Game Launcher only. Do this if you want to use Samsung’s app as your sole point of entry for accessing games.

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Not seeing a desired game or app in the launcher? Then tap the three-dot/settings menu in the top-right corner and choose add apps. From here, you’ll be presented with a list of apps and games on your phone that haven’t been added to Game Launcher — simply choose the desired app and you’ll be good to go. This might be handy for side-loaded games, emulators, or games that simply haven’t been detected by Samsung Game Launcher for some reason.

Visit Settings > Sort games, and you’ll find the ability to sort titles alphabetically or by date of installation (newest first).

Otherwise, you’ll find that the Game Launcher main menu is pretty self-explanatory, featuring the aforementioned list of games, a rotating carousel of ads near the bottom, and two buttons below that. The button on the left is a simple alert toggle, allowing you to quickly silence notifications. But the button on our right takes us to Game Tools.

Using Game Tools from Game Launcher

Performance settings in Samsung Game Tools.

Open the Game Tools option via the button on the lower right and you’ll see a universal slider bar at the top. Tweak the slider to the left and your phone will prioritize power efficiency over performance when gaming, but tweaking the slider to the right will focus on performance. This setting applies to all games recognized by Game Tools.

Thankfully, a simple tap of the individual game settings toggle below this slider will show options for adjusting settings on a per-game basis. This is extremely handy if some games run really well but other games need an extra boost, albeit at the expense of battery life.

Tap on the desired game to tweak, and you’ll be presented with several options for adjusting its settings. You’ve got the power saving/performance slider like before (albeit restricted to this title), as well as a low resolution toggle (reducing the resolution to improve performance), and a maximum FPS slider. The frame-rate maxes out at 60fps, but you can turn it down all the way to 15 fps if you want. We’d recommend switching to 30fps, although some people might tolerate a lower frame rate.

Using Game Tools during gameplay

samsung game tools during a game.

You can also access Samsung Game Tools during a game, just in case you haven’t encountered a save point yet. This can be done by swiping inwards from the edge of the screen and tapping the Game Tools icon in the navbar (it’s the icon with gamepad icons).

Once you’ve tapped the Game Tools icon in-game, you should then see a new menu pop up over your current game. This menu delivers options to block alerts, lock navkey buttons (home, back, recents), disable screen touch, and record screenshots/video (more on that in a bit).

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You’ll also notice a screen touch lock icon in the navbar itself (next to the recents key), but you can change the icon to a number of other shortcuts if you so wish. This can be done by opening Game Tools in-game then tapping Settings > Shortcuts, and then the desired shortcut. Other shortcuts that can be placed in the navbar include navkey lock, screenshot, record, and pop-up panel.

Launch Game Tools while playing a game and, in addition to the Game Tools menu, you’ll also find a floating bar of app shortcuts on the left side of the screen. Tap the three-dot menu in this bar and you can customize the app shortcuts here, adding the likes of YouTube, Discord, Chrome, and other apps if you want. This is handy if you want to quickly share captured media or if you want a seamless way to search for a walkthrough.

One thing you can’t do when activating Game Tools in-game is tweak visual settings such as resolution and frame-rate. You’ll have to launch Game Tools via the Game Launcher to tinker with these options, then.

Sharing the action

A recording of gameplay via Samsung Game Tools.

Samsung also includes native video recording and screenshot functionality in Game Tools, accessible in several ways. Fancy a screenshot or two? Then you can either use the power + volume up combo to quickly take a screengrab, or you can activate the Game Tools menu in-game via the previous method (swipe in from edge of screen, tap Game Tools icon) and then choose the screenshot option. You can also adjust the screenshot resolution (100%, 50%, 25%) from the Game Tools in-game menu via Settings > Screenshot resolution.

Want to record a video of your gaming session? Activate the Game Tools menu in-game and tap record. Stopping the clip is also a case of activating the overlay and tapping stop. You can adjust various video settings from the Game Tools pop-up window by tapping Settings > Record. From here, you can choose to output the clip as a video or GIF, toggle your selfie camera, toggle audio from your microphone, and tweak the resolution/bit-rate/aspect ratio.

Check out your stats!

The Samsung Game Launcher app also offers an interesting breakdown of all games played on your device, accessible by tapping the head/profile icon in the main menu on the right. You’ll then be presented with a pie chart, breaking down your played games via genre.

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Scroll down and you’ll find a breakdown of how long you played each game, as well as the ability to view said habits by various time windows (seven days, 30 days, all). Tap on a specific game and you’ll be presented with a graph showing playtime, as well as install size, data usage, install date, and the last time you played it.

This menu also gives users a shortcut to any gameplay videos recorded via the videos recorded tab, although you can always find these videos in the gallery app too. To find it in the gallery app, you’ll need to look out for a folder named after the game you were recording.

Are there any other Samsung Game Launcher nuggets worth knowing? Let us know in the comments section below!