It wasn’t too long ago that Michael reported on Unity adding Chrome OS as a target for developers to build games around. Up to this point, most games you can play on a Chromebook from the Play Store are clearly targeted to phones and tablets, not laptops with additional inputs like a keyboard and mouse. Because of this, Android games sometimes feel half-baked on a Chromebook. Sure, they will technically run, but they don’t do it well. Partnering with Unity, Google is looking to take action to make some of these experiences better, and in just over a month, the partnership has moved Chrome OS support from the Alpha phase to Beta in the latest 2021.2 build of Unity.
Some of the big highlights from Unity’s post about this move are better keyboard/mouse support for games on Chromebooks, better window management, better performance based on the hardware, and easier publishing for developers to the Play Store. If you’ve played any games on a Chromebook, you know the pain points being addressed, here. Apart from a few standout games, most titles lack proper desktop input support, don’t resize well, and don’t take advantage of the hardware available to them in most instances. PUBG Mobile is one I refer to most often and it clearly isn’t optimized for Intel x86 hardware or keyboard/mouse input.
Recognition is what counts
While I’m excited to see what ends up coming of this partnership, I’m probably more excited by the fact that larger entities are finally beginning to pay attention to Chrome OS. As a Chromebook user since the beginning, I’ve become accustomed to being left out of most conversations. Chrome OS has long been thought of as an aside; a second-class citizen when it comes to progress in development.
Seeing Unity very-publicly acknowledge the worth in developing with Chromebooks in mind makes me feel like the world as a whole is beginning to really take Chromebooks more seriously. Are we talking about monster gaming rigs with glowing RGB lights everywhere? Not at all, but Chromebooks could make a fantastic platform for a bunch of Android games that could make great use of the additional screen real estate, input methods, and computing power under the hood. We’ve said it for years at this point, but it holds more true now than it ever has: developers are missing a massive swath of users by not paying attention to Chrome OS.
By targeting Chromebooks moving forward, those building on the Unity platform stand to gain a substantial amount of new users simply because they make a game that is meant to work well on the Chromebook sitting on someone’s lap. As a long-time Chromebook fan, this is great progress and I cannot wait to see what the fruits of this labor are in the near future.
VIA: 9to5 Google