Are Chromebooks Good for Gaming? [2023 Guide]
Chromebooks are everywhere now due to their simplicity, affordability, and portability. They're ideal for writing papers, checking email, watching movies, and joining Zoom calls. Chromebooks are indispensable in our always-connected online lifestyle. However, one question often arises - are Chromebooks any good for gaming?
The short answer is yes; you can play games on a Chromebook. In 2023, gaming on Chromebooks is suddenly a reality with thousands of Android titles from the Google Play Store, browser-based games, and now a wide selection of triple-A games due to cloud streaming platforms. Read on as we explore why you should consider gaming on your Chromebook.
What are Chromebooks?
Chromebooks, which run on Google's Chrome operating system, ChromeOS, have long been an inexpensive alternative to traditional laptops that run on Windows or macOS. Chromebooks are cloud-based, which means that most apps run from the cloud instead of storing programs and applications on an internal hard drive. So, Chromebooks are lightweight and portable with extensive battery life because they don't need as much processing power and memory as a Windows Laptop.
ChromeOS is great for students who need to keep up with their schoolwork and those who want to take their work with them wherever they go. They're also an excellent option for gamers who wish to game on the go. They're a great deal because Chromebooks only cost as much as a modern game console and a few titles.
Can you play games on a Chromebook?
Yes. All Chromebooks can run Android games from the Google Play Store. But cloud streaming is the key to unlocking gaming on a Chromebook, as ChromeOS can't natively play AAA titles like Elden Ring or CyberPunk 2077.
You can play these types of games through cloud streaming which connects you remotely to powerful hardware that processes the game and does the heavy lifting. The gameplay streams over the web to your Chromebook's screen, and you control the action with your controller or keyboard.
What is Cloud Gaming?
Cloud gaming allows you to play video games on your laptop without needing to install them. Games stream from the cloud, just like YouTube or Netflix videos. You only need a reliable internet connection to play even the most graphics-intensive games without a fancy dedicated graphics card.
Cloud gaming services work well on Chromebooks with at least 4GB of RAM and a reasonably fast internet connection. Newer gaming Chromebooks are purpose-built for cloud gaming services, including:
- Nvidia GeForce NOW
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
- Amazon Luna+
- PlayStation Plus Premium
- Google Stadia (Discontinuing services on January 18, 2023)
Cloud gaming makes it possible to turn your Chromebook into a part-time gaming rig. It's attractive if you want to game without breaking the bank.
What are cloud gaming Chromebooks?
Gaming Chromebooks are the world's first laptops purposely built for cloud gaming. Cloud-gaming Chromebooks are optimized for streaming gaming with dedicated features to improve the cloud gaming experience. With over 1000 games at your fingertips, they come equipped with the following:
- 120Hz high-resolution display: A high refresh rate offers smoother crystal-clear visuals for gaming. The 120Hz refresh rate allows high FPS gameplay so you won't miss a millisecond of action. It is ideal for NVIDIA GeForce NOW's top-tier streaming platform's ray tracing, simulating how light behaves in the real world to make games hyper-realistic in 1600dp.
- Intel® Core™ processor: A high-performance processor gives you the power to play games and efficiently multitask.
- RGB gaming keyboard: personalize your backlit keyboard colors so you can quickly type and game in the dark. The keyboard's anti-ghosting technology ensures that your key combinations are sent in the order pressed.
- Fast Wi-Fi 6E: Fast wireless connectivity of up to 9.6 Gbps should amplify your cloud gaming.
- Built to last: With automatic updates and the latest graphics technology, get the performance you need to play the newest games for years to come. With cloud gaming, you won't have to worry if your hardware is obsolete.
Purchasing a cloud gaming Chromebook will ensure you can instantly stream the latest PC and console games without the added expense of a high-end gaming rig. They're optimized to run the highest performance tiers for Nvidia GeForce NOW, Xbox Game Pass, and Amazon Luna. While you still can't play demanding AAA games directly from a Chromebook, this is as close as it gets.
How to play games on Chromebook?
You can play three ways on a Chromebook:
1. Web browser games
2. Android Games from the Google Play Store
3. Stream Games through Cloud Gaming
You'll enjoy hours of gaming on Chrome OS with the right system and a reliable internet connection.
1) Web browser games: play them through Chrome
The simplest Chromebook gaming options are browser-based games. These games work in Chrome's built-in browser without requiring a download or powerful hardware. They range from solitaire to chess, old-school classics like Final Fight or Pac-Man, and many free Indie games.
Arcadespot is an excellent place to start playing. Google's GameSnacks are a collection of browser-based titles, and check out our top 10 Google Doodle games for more ideas.
2) Android Games from the Google Play Store
Chrome OS can run Google Play Store games and apps flawlessly. If your Chromebook has a touch screen, most games will work well. However, many top titles work with a keyboard or gamepad, such as:
- Asphalt 9: Legends
- Sonic the Hedgehog Classic
- Riptide GP: Renegade
- Modern Combat 5: mobile FPS
- PUBG Mobile
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Our top 10 most popular Google Play Games are a great place to start for more titles.
3) Cloud Gaming on Chromebooks
If you want to play console games and AAA titles, you'll want to use a game-streaming service such as:
- A. Nvidia GeForce NOW
- B. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
- C. Amazon Luna+
Cloud gaming is essentially HD video streaming - so you'll use up between 2GB to 4GB of data per hour. As a result, you'll need a fast, reliable internet connection with unmetered access.
A. Nvidia GeForce NOW on Chromebooks
With access to games via your Steam, Ubisoft, and Epic Games accounts, NVIDIA's cloud gaming platform has a vast library of over 1000+ sensational titles. With titles including:
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Apex Legends
- Far Cry 6
- Battlefield V
GeForce NOW uses a bring-your-own games model and comes with over 117 free-to-play games. It has three service tiers:
- Free: 1-hour playing sessions. 1080p/60fps. Standard server access.
- Priority: 6-hour playing sessions. 1080p/60fps, RTX ray-tracing acceleration. Premium server access. $10 a month or $50 for six months.
- RTX 3080: 8-hour playing sessions. 1600p/120fps, RTX ray-tracing acceleration. Top tier servers. $20 per month or $100 for six months.
Their highest service tier, RTX 3080, streams from the world's most powerful gaming supercomputer and can run games at 120 frames per second at up to 1600p with ray tracing, which makes playing smooth and hyper-realistic. However, you'll need a download speed of at least 35 Mbps to take advantage of this service.
GeForce NOW will transform your Chromebook into the gaming rig you've always dreamed of.
Memory: Minimum 4GB of RAM
- 15 Mbps for 720p at 60 FPS
- 25 Mbps for 1080p at 60 FPS
- 35 Mbps for 1600p at 120 FPS
B. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for Chromebooks
Xbox's highest subscription tier includes cloud streaming access to over 200 high-quality Xbox and PC games, including:
- Forza Horizon 5
- Assassin's Creed® Odyssey
- Halo Infinite
- A Plague Tale: Requiem
The resolution streams at 1080p and up to 60 frames per second. Xbox cloud gaming is now a PWA, so you can easily install it on your Chromebook for a more native gaming experience.
C. Amazon Luna+
Amazon Luna+ is a cloud gaming service that has a catalog of over 120+ games to play on your Chromebook. Play games at up to 1080p at 60 frames per second, including:
- Control Ultimate Edition
- Star Wars™ Pinball!
- Resident Evil 7 Gold Edition
- Sonic Mania Plus
All Amazon Prime members can access a few games for free. The Luna+ channel is $9.99 a month, and others are available, including:
- Family: $5.99
- Retro: $4.99
- Jackbox Games: $4.99
- Ubisoft+: $17.99
To access Luna's entire catalog of games would cost $41/month plus your Amazon Prime subscription, which has a smaller library than Xbox Cloud Gaming. It could be worth considering as the library expands or if you already have an Amazon Prime membership.
Acer Chromebook 516 GE
With Chromebook 516 GE, you can experience high-performance PC gaming with stunning visuals. The 120Hz 16-inch WQXGA3 IPS narrow-bezel screen with 100% sRGB and 16:10 aspect ratio creates a compelling gaming experience. It is purpose-built for gamers, with its hardware primed for game streaming, especially at a stunningly realistic 120 frames per second.
The power of the 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 processor can take on the new world of cloud gaming with its latest video decoding technology. With Wi-Fi 6 E and a 2.5G ethernet port, you'll experience fast connections and ultra-low latency. 9-hour battery life means you can leave the power pack behind when you're on the go.
As a bonus, when you purchase this gaming Chromebook, you'll be able to claim a free 3-month subscription to Amazon Luna and the highest tier of GeForce Now through Google.
Acer Chromebook 516 GE Specs:
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-1240P
- RAM: 8 GB, LPDDR4X\
- GPU: Intel® Iris® Xe
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Display: 16” WQXGA (2560 x 1600) 16:10 120 Hz
- Dimensions: 14 x 9.8 x 0.84 inches
- Weight: 3.75 pounds
- Battery Life (up to): 9 Hours
Chromebooks are simple, affordable, with good battery life and now are ready to power the next generation of gaming. With all those components in place, your Chromebook can be a clever cloud gaming solution, giving you access to many of the most significant new PC games (and even many console games) for a fraction of the price of building a gaming PC.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.