In the face of growing competition from the likes of Amazon, Google today announced that owners of the Chromecast – its HDMI media-streaming stick – will soon be able to do a bit more than they could before.

According to a post on the Official Chrome Blog, Chromecast owners can now play some new family-friendly games on their Chromecast using a smartphone or tablet as a controller. What games, exactly? Well, don’t get too excited. One batch of games are from Hasbro’s collection of IPs, including Wheel of Fortune, Monopoly Dash, Scrabble Blitz, Connect Four Quads, and Simon Swipe. Another game, Just Dance Now, utilizes your smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera to track your movements, much like the Xbox Kinect or PlayStation Camera. Like those peripherals, of course, your technological results may vary. There’s also two more trivia games called Big Web Quiz and Emoji Party, and all of these are available to download from the Google Play Store right now.

I gave a couple a try – the few that were free and that I could get to work, that is. Scrabble Blitz is basically just making as many words as you can before the timer runs out, and bears little resemblance to traditional Scrabble. I couldn’t even get Emoji Party to launch on my new Nexus 9. All in all, not a great start for the new games announced today – but hopefully Google will work harder on bringing good games to the Chromecast platform as time goes on.

There’s also now apps for Showtime Anytime and Starz, which will allow subscribers to those channels to enjoy on-demand content anywhere they happen to take their Chromecast with them. However, if you don’t have an account with a cable provider – well, you probably won’t get much out of these apps for right now, then.

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While none of these additions are groundbreaking, they signify Google’s ongoing commitment to the Chromecast platform. Soon enough the Nexus Player media streaming set-top-box will begin to leave Google’s warehouses. As such, having more things to do with the Nexus Player will make the streaming box – which has Chromecast capabilities built-in – that much more of a good sell for consumers.

The full list of Chromecast-compatible apps is right here. Stay tuned for more to come soon as the Nexus Players start to ship and Android TV begins to make the rounds in people’s living rooms.

[Official Chrome Blog]


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