Google testing keyboard controls for Android games on Chrome OS to extend gaming capabilities and Support

Chromebook Chrome OS

ChromeOS users already have access to many Android games through Google Play, but many of them are built with a touchscreen interface in mind. This can make it difficult for users to play these titles using a keyboard and mouse. To address this issue, Google announced today that it is testing keyboard controls for select titles with ChromeOS 105.

The company said it simulates touch control using keyboard presses to map touchscreen controls to a desktop system. He also insisted that developers should implement keyboard controls into their games so that they work better on non-touchscreen Chromebooks.

“By translating keystrokes into simulated touch events, the game control feature allows players to use the keyboard to interact with on-screen buttons and virtual joysticks, resulting in a much better experience for games with limited or no keyboard support,” the company stated in a blog post.

If you’re running ChromeOS 105 on a device with a keyboard and mouse (or touchpad), a keyboard overlay will appear indicating controls that will simulate touch behaviour in a supported game. With this release, users will be able to disable/enable keyboard overlays, disable game controls, and customize in-game control keys (accessible via the settings square in the centre-right of the screen). 

They can still use the mouse to access game menus and dialogues. In the initial phase, Google focused on four kinds of games that will support keyboard control: joystick, single-button, multi-button, and swipe games. Here is the list of supported games at launch:

Joystick Games

  • Archero
  • AXES.io
  • Heroics Epic Legend of Archero
  • Wizard Legend: Fighting Master
  • Pixel Blade R – a revolution
  • Zombero: Archero Hero Shooter
  • Archer Hunter – Offline action-adventure game
  • Mr Autofire

One button games

  • Dash Lite Geometry
  • Stack Ball – Crash Platforms
  • Fireballs 3D
  • Stack Smash
  • Drop Stack Ball – Fall Helix Blast Crash 3D
  • Helix Smash
  • Stack Crush Ball
  • Crush Stack Ball Blast
  • Stack Fall
  • Helix Stack Jump: Smash Ball
  • Click on Titans 2

Games with more buttons

  • Uphill races
  • Ninja Arashi 2
  • Ninja Arashi
  • Ninja warrior: legend of adventure games
  • Power Hover
  • Grimvalor

Swipe games

  • 2048 (Androbabies)
  • Original 2048
  • 2048 (Solebon LLC)
  • Puzzle game 2048
  • 2048 (S2Apps)

Google warned that this is an alpha version of keyboard support, so users should not expect all Google Play games to work perfectly on ChromeOS. Additionally, since this is an early experiment by the company, supported games may experience some glitches when using the keyboard controls.

The company said it plans to create an editor in the future that will let you easily map keyboard and mouse controls to touch-enabled Google Play games.

Google has been trying to expand gaming on ChromeOS for a while now. The company officially launched on the Steam platform in March with limited game support. They are also trying to get Android games ready for desktops. Last month, it launched Google Play Games for PC in open beta for Windows users in five countries.

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