Just last week we saw Google taking a new approach with particular games on Chromebooks, giving them a dedicated section for potential users to easily find and identify them as apps that work great with Chromebooks. This came not long after we saw the beta launch of the desktop-class painting app Krita and both Doom and Doom II available for free via the Chromebook Perks page. All three of these apps not only run well on Chromebooks: they fully leverage the fact that Chromebook users will have a mouse and keyboard at their disposal.
When we were made aware of the new Play Store section for Chromebook-ready games, everyone here in the office went to check out the titles and quickly realized this was a server-side update to the Play Store that not everyone has just yet. Even as of this morning, not one Chromebook in the office has this new Play Store section. That being the case, we were happy that @dmgerbino (who tipped us off about this in the first place) was kind enough to make a quick video showing all the titles he is seeing in this new Play Store section on his Acer Chromebook Spin 13 in the Stable Channel of Chrome OS. Here’s that video and a quick list of all the games included below.
- Cultist Simulator
- Game Dev Tycoon
- The Enchanted Worlds
- Bridge Constructor Portal
- Project Highrise
- Simple Planes
- Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition
These are premium games, so unless you have Play Pass, each of them will cost a few bucks. I didn’t really want to spend the money on games I’m not terribly interested in, but I did have access to a few of them via the Play Pass and I was already considering a purchase of Don’t Starve, so after I saw the full list, I snagged what I could and gave them a quick play. Most of the games that work well are single-touch interactions and, as you would expect, work just fine when clicking around with a mouse pointer. I played a few minutes of Game Dev Tycoon and the game played and behaved just like you’d expect on the Chromebook. Other games like this from the list above should behave accordingly.
It became far more intersting, however, when I loaded up the flight simulator Simple Planes and had the option to map my own keyboard and mouse controls. Sure, games on Chromebooks should take advantage of the larger screen on Chrome OS, but they should also let me use my keyboard and mouse where applicable. Don’t Starve was also a standout, here, as it worked with my keyboard and mouse inputs right out of the box without need of any setup whatsoever. So far, the games that allow these sorts of interaactions are few and far between in the Play Store, so seeing developers decide to include this in their apps is a very welcome sight.
We hope more and more games get these Chromebook-ready features in the very near term as it is more clear than ever that Chromebooks are finally becoming far more mainstream than they’ve ever been before. We also are on the lookout for other productivity apps that are being put together with use on a Chromebook in mind. Proper, full-featured apps from developers like Adobe could have a huge impact on the overall perception of Chromebooks for everyday users. It feels like we’re on the edge of more of these coming, so be sure to stay tuned as we hunt for more great Android apps that actually take Chromebooks seriously.