Everything you need to know
(Pocket Ribbon) – Chromebooks are a very popular option for those who need a cheap and simple laptop to get their work done and browse the web. They may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a slot machine, but lately more and more options have popped up for Chromebook gaming.
So if you want to stay stuck, here’s everything you need to know about gaming on a Chromebook.
Playing browser games on a Chromebook
Since Chromebooks are largely based on the Google Chrome browser, playing browser-based games is as easy as you’d expect.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve spent way too many hours on sites like Newgrounds.com playing all kinds of flash quirks and hidden gems.
Now, while Adobe Flash is pretty much dead and support has been removed in Chrome 88, many of the classics have been ported over to HTML5 – so there’s still a lot to play for.
Right now, some of our favorite browser-based games are:
Catan Universe – It is based on the classic board game Settlers of Catan, but this time in your browser.slither.io – like the old snake game on Nokia phones, but multiplayer and more beautiful.Gartic phone – lots of fun with some friends on Discord, it’s like a mix of the phone game and Pictionary.
Play Android games on a Chromebook
ChromeOS has allowed users to install Android apps for a long time, so chances are if you own a Chromebook, you can probably install Android apps on it.
To access the Play Store, select its icon in the ChromeOS shelf. From there, you can select the game you want to install and Google will do the rest.
When you install an Android game (or any Android app for that matter), your Chromebook essentially functions like a giant smartphone. So the whole thing runs a lot smoother if you have a touchscreen device.
You can play around with the keyboard and mouse, but since the apps are optimized for touch, they usually work better with the touch screen input.
Google’s refund policy makes it pretty easy to refund a game if you find your Chromebook is struggling to run it. Just make sure you do this within 48 hours of purchase.
As for what to play, you have almost limitless options, with over 480,000 games available on the Play Store.
Stream games to a Chromebook
A great option for Chromebooks with slightly less horsepower is game streaming or cloud gaming. Whatever you want to call it, it works by streaming a game running on a much more powerful machine to your Chromebook. This machine could be one you own in another room for services like Steam Link, or a remote computer you rent for services like GeForce Now.
In fact, Google is so confident in streaming games on Chromebooks that the Stadia service has been pre-installed on new Chromebooks since February 2021.
Once you’re up and running, you can play games at high graphics settings with a controller or keyboard and mouse, all from the comfort of your affordable and relatively low-spec Chromebook.
Here are some of the options currently available for streaming games remotely and how much they cost:
For in-home streaming from your gaming PC, try the following:
Valve Steam Link – Via the Steam Link app on the Google Play Store.Moonlight – An open-source version of Nvidia GameStream, for those with an Nvidia GPU.parsec – This one isn’t officially supported, but should work through the Parsec web client, so it might be worth a try.
What’s the future of gaming on Chromebooks?
While Chromebooks have a ton of options for gaming as things stand, there’s little to set them apart from Android smartphones and tablets that can also take advantage of the options described above.
However, that will soon change. There are many indications that a ChromeOS version of Steam is on the way, and adventurous users can already try the beta.
Chromebook specs are also getting higher and higher, so we expect it won’t be long before we start seeing special graphics cards on-board.
A report from 9to5Google has suggested that we may even see RGB keyboards on Chromebooks in the near future, so they’ll look good too.
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We’ll be keeping a close eye on its progress, but for now we’re pretty sure gaming on Chromebooks will keep getting better.
Written by Luke Baker.