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Google Chrome is adding support for Nintendo Switch controllers

Something big is happening over in the great land of Google. Earlier this week, the company teased its upcoming GDC announcement where it will reveal its plans for the “future of gaming”. But, even before kicking that off, it seems as though Google has some gaming-related plans that lie outside of its realm.

A commit that’s sitting on Chromium review website (the team that designs Google Chrome) includes mention of a project that’s labeled “Work in Progress”. What is this project? Well, it’s boldly named “Improve support for Nintendo Switch Gamepads”. The notes go onto detail exactly what needs to be fixed.

In summary, Google is working on adding support to Chrome for all of the Switch’s main controllers: that’s both Joy-Con (both separately and individually), as well as the Pro Controller and even the Charging Grip. Support for the Pro Controller specifically will come in the form of both wired and wireless connections, which sounds quite nice. The commit also includes a bug report beginning from January 12, 2018 until January 23, 2019 that shows the software engineers have been working on getting the Pro Controller’s D-pad and analog sticks to be properly registered by Chrome.

What timeline is this?

Now, of course, the question is: “Why would Google be trying to add support for Switch controllers?”

Until Google shows off its aforementioned upcoming plans, we won’t know in any official capacity what all of this work is being done for. However, this wouldn’t be the first time another company included support for Switch controllers in its service.

Valve added native support for the Pro Controller to Steam back in May of last year. By September, over 500,000 Pro Controllers were registered in the service. That number has no doubt grown by now. Once Google’s plans come to full fruition, it will be interesting to see if the adoption rate by users will be similarly high. Here’s the full commit that was mentioned earlier:

Improve support for Nintendo Switch gamepads This adds support for Nintendo Switch controllers through Gamepad API: * Switch Pro (USB and Bluetooth) * Joy-Con L (Bluetooth) * Joy-Con R (Bluetooth) * Joy-Con L+R (Bluetooth) * Charging Grip (USB) These devices require an initialization sequence that is not performed by the host’s gamepad support or by the platform data fetcher. They also provide calibration data that is needed in order to correctly scale the thumbstick inputs. This implementation replaces the experimental Switch Pro support on Linux, which is removed in this CL. BUG=801717 Change-Id: Ided8ec689a87a69643b4d4d82dc3b2bf04a7c912


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