It appears that the Play Store doesn’t use the Feature Graphic anymore on its Play Store pages, but just the High-Res Icon, and the screen shots:
But when I try to upload a project to Scriptoria for publishing on the Play Store, it requires the Feature Graphic, at least for the default language. Is that still best practice, or should we remove the requirement of including a Feature Graphic for a Scriptoria upload? (Kind of a waste to have to come up with a Feature Graphic of the right size, and then have it take up space and bandwidth if it isn’t used…)
Google Play still requires a feature graphic. For details, see Play Console Help.
If you access the Play Store on a PC and type in a search word, Google (normally) displays the results using the Feature Graphics. I don’t think they’re used on a phone, though.
When searching for apps on a desktop or mobile browser, the feature graphic appears in the list of search results. I agree that the feature graphic is under-utilized, but it is what it is.
I have attached examples of the feature graphic for the app “Alabashun” being shown in the Play Store search results.