There’s no reason to hide it: I’ve been loving Apex Legends Mobile since the day it came out. While I only tinkered with the desktop version from time to time using GeForce NOW, I am fully invested in this game on mobile. The character system, modes of play, and general feel of the game are so good that I have played it as much or more than PUBG Mobile when it first launched.
While I love the mobility and simplicity of mobile gaming and am thrilled that Apex Legends Mobile runs so well on my Pixel 6 Pro, I can’t help but find myself wishing I could give it a try on a Chromebook. The game already supports controllers, so there’s not even an issue with needing a touchscreen, keyboard controls, or a tablet-style device in order to play it.
Don’t get me wrong: playing Apex Legends Mobile with a touchscreen and gyro on something like the Lenovo Duet 3 or Duet 5 would be amazing. I’m just pointing out the fact that there are control setup options already baked into the game for Chromebook users on devices without convertible properties or a touchscreen interfaces.
Would I love keyboard and mouse support? Sure! But I fully understand that adding those controls can make the games competition a tad bit skewed, so it makes sense that there are no major mobile battle royale games that leverage the keyboard/mouse combo that Chromebooks have available.
What’s the problem, then?
So, if everything would be good to go with Apex on a Chromebook, what’s the issue? Frankly, I have no idea. For some reason, the game (if you can find it) shows up with a message saying Your device is not compatible with this version when searching from a Chromebook in the Play Store. The truth is, this game would probably run very well on a wide variety of Chromebooks, but the developers have it set as unavailable based on the processor in your device.
To make matters worse, even if you get it installed and running, you get hit with an emulator warning and can’t actually get into the game. We had it installed on a Chromebook here in the office that has the 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake processor inside, and though the install an initial screens all looked great, the emulator warning appeared and we couldn’t actually play at all.
My biggest gripe with this whole thing is the fact that we still have games in the Play Store that behave as if Android on ChromeOS is some sort of emulation. That’s clearly not the situation, but games like Apex Legends Mobile and PUBG Mobile do this and I don’t understand it. I get it: sometimes taking the few extra steps to make your app run well on a Chromebook isn’t a top priority for many developers. But doing things that make it actively feel like you are blocking Chromebook users from your game is just silly.
If your game doesn’t support a keyboard and mouse, there is literally zero advantage to someone playing on a Chromebook. None whatsoever. Yet too often, games see Chromebooks as some sort of cheating mechanism and our ChromeOS devices pay the price. Games like Apex Legends Mobile could be amazing on a bunch of Chromebooks, and instead of capturing that user base, it is actively shunning them. It’s a bummer and something I’ve long wished would get remedied. Instead, situations like these leave me a bit disheartened, feeling like it will never change.