PC gaming is rightly considered a “high-end” computing task. While full of games go run on weak or outdated PCs and laptopsthe biggest, the newest games require powerful hardware and gaming-friendly operating systems like Windows or SteamOS—features that small productivity machines like Chromebooks lack.
Yet despite their ChromeOS’ meager hardware specs and worn-out gaming support, Chromebooks can actually be viable gaming devices…if you have the correct configuration.
Use cloud gaming services
Cloud streaming is key to gaming in Chromium OS. Chromebooks can’t play Infinite Halo Where Ring of Elden natively, but they can play these games via cloud streaming, which remotely connects you to the powerful the hardware does the heavy lifting. You control the action with the controller or keyboard attached to your Chromebook, and the gameplay is streamed over the internet, right on the screen of your ChromeOS device. (It’s the same way android and iOS devices can be used for play the latest PC and console games.)
Several cloud streaming services are available on ChromeOS devices, either through the Chrome web browser or a dedicated ChromeOS app. These include Amazon Luna, Google Stadia, Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Shadow, PlayStation Plus Premium (formerly PlayStation Now), and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
It is important to note that all cloud gaming options are paid services with varying features and game libraries. In some cases you must buy or rent the games you want to play (in addition to the monthly subscription fee); in others, you get access to a collection of games each month. Ssome services offer a combination of both options.
Here’s a quick rundown of each service’s pricing and content options:
- Amazon Luna: The basic service included with the Amazon Prime subscription ($15/month or $139/year), includes a rotating games library. Additional premium “channels” with more games available, between $5 and $18/month extra.
- Google Stadia: Google Stadia lets you buy pay-per-view games and stream without subscription fees, or you can access the Google Stadia Pro games collection for $10/month (30-day free trial available).
- PlayStation Plus Premium: game station PlayStation Plus Premium coming soon ($18/month) will combine current PlayStation Plus ($10/month) and PlayStation Now ($10/month) services into a single subscription that includes cloud streaming access to a library of over 740 games from all consoles previous PlayStation home and portable games, plus free monthly games playable on PS5. PlayStation Plus will launch in June this year. PlayStation Now cloud streaming is available until then.
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Xbox’s highest Game Pass subscription tier includes cloud streaming access to hundreds of Xbox and PC games available through a rotating collection or purchased a la carte (not all games on the service support cloud streaming ). New subscribers can sign up for $1 for the first month, then $15/month thereafter.
- Unlike other services, GeForce now (from $10/month) and Shadow (starting at $30/month) do not offer game purchases or rentals. Instead, you’re paying for remote access to powerful gaming-enabled PC hardware where you can play games purchased through an external marketplace like Steam or the Epic Games Store.
- It’s also worth noting that if you have a gaming PC, Xbox console, or PlayStation 4 or 5 at home, you can use the Remote Play apps from Steam, Xbox, and Sony to remotely game on your ChromeOS device.
the Games available will vary from service to service, so be sure to check each one’s current collection to see which you prefer. Recent ChromeOS leaks indicate that Google will soon let you see what games are available through streaming services with a new game search aggregator on Chromebooks, but this feature has not yet been officially announced. For now, you’ll have to browse each service’s library individually to see what’s available.
While good service and good games are the most important part of your Chromebook cloud gaming setup, there are a few final things to keep in mind..
You need a good jeInternet connection
Since cloud streaming quality depends on your internet connection rather than the actual hardware of your device, you need to make sure your speeds are up to snuff task. Some services will not allow you to subscribe without a download speed of at least 15 Mbs per second, but this is only the minimum. And For the best experience, use a hard drivewired Ethernet connection, either through your Chromebook’s built-in Ethernet port or with a USB Ethernet adapter. If you’re playing wirelessly, make sure you’re near your Wi-Fi router or use a 5G mobile hotspot. Just remember: IInput latency, service interruptions and fluctuations in graphics quality are always possible, even on the best connections.
Consider your iinput options
Finally, you want to make sure that you can actually control the games you play. Most PC games require a mouse and keyboard, which are built into your laptop, but connecting a full-size keyboard and an external mouse will be more comfortable. Many games also support gamepads, which can usually connect to your ChromeOS device via USB or wirelessly via Bluetooth.
With all of these components in place, your Chromebook can be a fully capable cloud gaming solution, giving you access to many of the biggest new PC games (and even many console games) for a fraction of the price of creating your own gaming computer.