Google is working to bring Nintendo Switch controller support to Chrome

It should come as no surprise that Google is diving deep into gaming. Between Project Stream and leaked information about Project Yeti, it’s clear that the search giant is trying to change the future of gaming. As we quickly approach Google’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) announcement, ChromeUnboxed discovered signs that the company might soon add Nintendo Switch support to Chrome.

Several days ago, before the teaser trailer was released, ChromeUnboxed found commits to Chromium that mentioned adding Switch controller support over Bluetooth and USB to Chrome. The list of controllers includes the Switch Pro (USB and Bluetooth), Joy-Con L & R (Bluetooth), and the Charging Grip (USB).

Looking through the documentation, it looks like the implementation is still a bit buggy. Below is a snippet of the Chrome bug report:

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can be paired over Bluetooth and used as a standard gamepad on desktop OSes. It is currently enumerated in Chrome but is unusable due to incorrect mappings for the D-pad and analog axes. Chrome should add a mapping for this popular device.

The Switch Pro controller is usable when connected by USB or Bluetooth,
but defaults to a Bluetooth-only mode. This CL adds methods for
recognizing Switch Pro controllers, sending the vendor-specific packets
used for USB initialization and haptics, and reading controller data
reports.

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There’s still a lot of unknowns. We know that “Yeti” was referenced in Chromium so there’s a good chance that the console will run Chrome. By adding Switch controller support to Chrome, it would most likely allow users to play with their pre-existing gaming accessories.

We will likely learn the answer to this question and more at GDC. Google’s event is set to take place live from the Gaming Developer Conference on March 19.

Google’s Project Stream beta to end Jan. 15, AMD Radeon GPUs used for gaming service

AMD

Google launched a public best test of Project Stream, its PC game streaming service, back in October 2018. It allowed people to stream and play the full version of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at 1080p/60 in the Chrome web browser either on their PC or a low-end Chromebook.  Now, the search giant has confirmed on its FAQ page for Project Stream that the beta test will officially end on Jan. 15.

At the time of the beta test launch, Google didn’t reveal much about the hardware backend of Project Stream. Today, however, AMD announced that Google’s service is using its Radeon GPUs. The reveal was made during AMD’s CES 2019 keynote address today (via VentureBeat) by the company’s President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

Specifically, the cloud server service uses AMD’s Radeon Pro GPUs that rely on its Vega architecture. Hu added that AMD has worked closely with Google to optimize Project Stream so that this kind of service can work well without any buffering on the gamer’s end.

A screenshot from Google's Project Stream service. Google

Hu, unfortunately, didn’t provide any other concrete details on AMD’s partnership with Google on Project Stream.

If you have yet to check out Project Stream, live in the U.S., and are 17 years of age or older, you can still sign up for the beta test at the link below before the deadline. If you do play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for at least one hour on Project Stream before Jan. 15, you will be able to get the PC version for free with a Ubisoft Uplay account. 

Google has not yet revealed what plans it has for Project Stream beyond the end of the beta test, but we will keep an eye out for more news on this exciting venture in the coming weeks and months.