It's no secret that Chrome OS has become way more capable over the years, maturing far beyond a simple browser-platform. It shows Google is serious about making Chromebooks an appealing choice for everyone, supporting Android apps and even powerful Linux tools to sweeten the platform's appeal. With official support for Steam around the corner, Chrome OS is even closer to becoming a viable choice for hardcore gamers — and an upcoming addition levels-up the gaming experience even further.
We've been tracking a few commits over at the Chromium repository that aim to improve your Chromebook's ability to detect wireless peripherals using Bluetooth Low Energy. Among these enhancements are several handfuls of new code that will add compatibility to Microsoft's Xbox Series X controller over Bluetooth. Intrepid users living dangerously on Chrome OS 93 should be able to take advantage of its wireless benefits today, as long as they have that specific gamepad lying around.
A submitted commit shows wireless support for the Xbox Series X controller arriving to Chrome OS.
With this improvement, input will accurately reflect assigned buttons on the Xbox's controller while connecting over Bluetooth, as shown in the gamepad_standard_mappings_linux.cc file.
Unlike before, you won't need to be tethered to your device while gaming on your Chromebook. While the above commit is specific to Chrome OS and Linux, the change is part of an ongoing effort to support the controller across all platforms with access to the Chrome browser. Google plans on making it even easier to connect the Xbox controller to your Chromebook — we think its upcoming Bluetooth advertisement monitoring will help with that.
Adding wireless support for the Xbox Series X controller is a welcome change for those itching to play games on their Chromebook from the comfort of their couch. The improved compatibility comes right in time before Google's official release of Borealis (aka official Steam for Chromebook) to the public. I can totally see console gamers using their Xbox controllers on Chromebooks, despite myself not owning one. Paired with the massive gaming performance boost coming soon, Chrome OS is evolving into a platform leagues beyond its initial vision.