What you need to know
- Google is teaming up with Unity to integrate Chrome OS into the Android developer environment.
- Developers can now better optimize their games for Chromebooks.
- In addition to Chrome OS devices running on x86-x64, Unity will also support devices running on Arm.
Google and Unity have joined hands to enable developers to use the Unity game engine to deliver a superior mobile gaming experience on Chrome OS devices. Developers will be able to build or port their Android games for Chrome OS devices in Unity's Android Dev environment starting with 2021.2 beta. Later this year, Chrome OS support will also be added to Unity 2021.1 and 2020 LTS. Until now, Unity games could run on Chromebooks only through the built-in Android runtime.
Unity believes that Chrome OS would be "an interesting opportunity" for Android developers as Chromebooks continue to grow in popularity. Chromebook sales jumped over 100% year-over-year in 2020, with shipments reaching 30 million units.
Interestingly, Unity will also support x86_64 Chrome OS devices. Unity had deprecated Android x86 support in March 2019 due to its "minimal adoption." To deliver a better gaming experience to users, developers can now also use Unity's Input System to program their own input controls on the best Chromebooks. Thanks to keyboard and mouse support, Unity's Input System provides access to mouse positional updates and lets developers create custom touchpad and right-click actions.
Unity also supports multi-window features for Chrome OS devices — including Freeform windows, full-screen mode, and split-screen. Since Chromebooks can vary significantly in terms of performance, developers can leverage Unity's profiling and performance optimizations to provide users with a smooth gaming experience, regardless of the device's capabilities.
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