Explained: What are ChromeOS game controls and what they mean for gamers

Google has allowed ChromeOS users to access Android games through Google Play for a long time now. However, these games were not optimised for keyboard and mouse support. The tech giant has recently launched the ChromeOS 105 which includes an early final version of the game controls feature for a limited number of touchscreen-only Android games. This new feature bridges the gap for touchscreen-only games by translating keyboard presses into simulated touch commands. Google has also updated its official blog post to explain how the feature will work and has listed the Android games that currently support keyboard control.
What is the game controls feature in ChromeOS?
The game controls feature allows players to use their keyboard to interact with on-screen buttons and virtual joysticks translate the key commands into simulated touch entries. This feature improves the gaming experience, especially for ChromeOS devices that don’t support a touch screen. ChromeOS game controls currently support selected — joystick, single-button, multi-button and swipe games
ChromeOS game controls: Availability
Google is testing the feature by introducing the most important elements to enable keyboard support on a limited number of pre-selected games. Currently, this feature allows users to — customise key assignments, show/hide the key overlay, and disable the game controls feature on a specific game.

As per the blog, all these options are available in the game controls menu displayed within a supported app. The game controls feature is available for devices running ChromeOS 105 or later. The device also needs to have both a keyboard and an input pointer device (like — mouse or touchpad) connection, the blog confirms.
How will the feature work
The support blog mentions that whenever users open a game with the game control feature enabled, they will find an overlay that shows the keys. ChromeOS users can use this overlay to simulate different touches on the screen through the keyboard. Users can customise the key bindings through the game controls menu by clicking the white square hovering on the right centre portion of the game’s window, the blog adds.
Importance of keyboard support in ChromeOS for touch-only Android apps
Google Play is designed with touch controls in mind. However, “the majority of ChromeOS users interact with apps using a mouse and keyboard,” the blog mentions. This is why keyboard support for Android apps is “critical” for ChromeOS the blog explains.
Moreover, Android games need quick movements or button taps that can’t be performed with a mouse. This feature claims to improve the gaming experience with “limited or missing keyboard support.”

ChromeOS game controls will even save the developers from separately implementing keyboard support in their apps. Furthermore, Google claims that it “provides the best and most consistent gameplay across phone, tablet, desktop, and large-screen devices,” the company recommends developers support a wide range of input methods that include — mouse, keyboard and gamepads.
Moreover, the company blog states that game controls are “a way to overcome initial challenges with the gaming experience while users wait for developers to fully optimise their apps for ChromeOS.”

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