Many of us have been working from home for a long time now, and if you've got a stressful job, it's vital to take time relaxing and winding down after work. With the vast catalog of apps now available for Chromebooks thanks to the Play Store, it's easier than ever to get hooked on addictive games like PUBG or Among Us. But despite Google's efforts to optimize Android on Chrome OS, a lot of games are still incompatible with keyboard and mouse input — simply because the developers built them for phones and tablets. So if your Chromebook lacks a touchscreen, you've been out of luck. Thankfully, it looks like that may soon change.
Android apps are notorious for their inconsistent compatibility with Chromebooks — along with a wide range of performance issues, some won't even run at all. Improving gaming performance and better app scaling is proof that Android support is maturing (albeit slowly), and Google is still looking for ways to make the experience even better — especially for gamers. The company touched on ways a developer can support more inputs (like keyboard and mouse) on Chrome OS at its I/O conference this year, and soon, it'll try to make touch-only games more usable on Chromebooks.
We recently spotted a new commit over at the Chromium Gerrit that adds an input compatibility layer for several handfuls of games designed to work only with touchscreens. Once implemented, you'll be able to play your otherwise incompatible Android games with a keyboard and mouse, solving a major interactivity headache for some gamers.
A commit adds an input compatibility layer for games designed to work only with touch.
The lack of any sort of detailed information about how this overlay works is a sign that it's still clearly in the early days of its implementation. Apart from extending keyboard and mouse compatibility, support seems largely dependent on the presence of an input overlay for a specific game. Without one, you'd still need to use a touchscreen for your controls, even with this feature switched on. Considering Google set the flag to auto-expire by Chrome OS 99, it will be some time before it becomes even usable.
The ability to play Android games with a keyboard and mouse could end up being a pretty big deal for gamers who've purchased a Chromebook. It's still unclear how effective this might be since the feature hasn't arrived in the Canary channel yet, but we'll keep our eyes peeled for any forthcoming changes as development continues.