The best services for Chromebook gaming
Chromebooks and even some of the best ChromeOS tablets aren’t just for browsing the web and watching movies anymore. Recently, Google, along with its partners, has been releasing a wave of gaming-themed Chromebooks. Some great Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook 516 GE pack in 12th Gen Intel processors, 144Hz displays, and even RGB keyboards.
We reviewed the Acer Chromebook 516GE and found it to be the perfect device for playing games. So, we have compiled a list of the best services for gaming on Chromebook just like that. We’ll look at services like Steam, others like Xbox Cloud Gaming, and even NVIDIA GeForce Now. Check it out below, and remember, these services aren’t exclusive to Chrome OS. You can use it on your Windows laptop also,
Topping the list is Steam. Steam is a gaming service that you may have already heard of. It is a digital distribution service that you can use to download millions of games to your Chromebook from all kinds of publishers. It is owned by Valve, which is also behind the famous Steam Deck.
Note that Steam is currently in beta on ChromeOS. If you want to use it, you will have to switch your Chromebook to the beta channel and then enable the Steam installer with the #borealis flag under chrome://flags. A lot of games can also be downloaded on Steam for offline use, so you don’t have to worry about always being online. You do not need to pay to create a Steam account, but you do need to pay to download games, although some games may be free.
2. Nvidia GeForce Now
Next on the list is Nvidia GeForce Now, which is available as a Progressive Web App (PWA) on Chromebooks. If you already own a game on Steam, Ubisoft Connect, or Epic that you’re playing on a PC, Nvidia GeForce Now lets you play that game on your Chromebook through the cloud without waiting for it to download. GeForce Now runs on servers backed up by physical computers. This means you’ll have to be connected to the internet for this to work on a Chromebook, though there’s no offline support.
Additionally, not all Steam games are supported in GeForce Now, but you do get hit titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, God of War, and even Genshin effect. There is also a select catalog of free games that you can play without owning it.
Nvidia GeForce now has many levels. There’s a free tier that limits you to 1 hour of gameplay, a priority tier that gets you a premium hardware with RTX and Ray tracing, or 6 hours at 1080p and 60fps gameplay. The last level is the ultimate level that gives you an RTX 4080 gaming rig with the fastest servers, 8-hour gaming sessions at up to 4K resolution and 120fps gameplay. We reviewed Nvidia GeForce Now last year if you want more details on the experience.
Check out Nvidia GeForce now
3. Amazon Luna
Third on the list is Amazon Luna, which is also a PWA on Chromebooks. Amazon Luna is a relative newcomer to the cloud gaming space, but it packs a lot of value and game options. All games on Luna are streamed from computers connected to Amazon Web Services servers and the cloud, so you still need Internet access to play these games.
With this service’s Prime Gaming plan, there’s a rotating batch of games each month that you can stream each month for free with Amazon Prime. There are also “channels” that you can pay to unlock games from a specific publisher if needed, such as Retro Chanel, the Jackbox Games channel, or the Family channel, the first two of which are $5, while the Family channel costs $6. For an additional $18, you can also play Ubisoft games on Luna. Examples of these games include Far Cry 5And Assassin’s Creed ValhallaAnd Monopoly madness Via Ubisoft Channel +. Finally, there’s Luna+, the standard package that covers some additional PC titles and over 300 games.
Check out Amazon Luna
4. Xbox Cloud Games
Xbox Cloud Gaming is an option for those familiar with Xbox games. This doesn’t actually include as many PC games as it does console games, so it’s for those who may already own an Xbox or are interested in the platform. In fact, Xbox Cloud games rely on Xbox Series X consoles as cloud-connected servers.
Similar to the other devices on our list, Xbox Cloud Gaming is available as a PWA on ChromeOS and Chromebook. You will need a subscription to play these games, but once you subscribe, you can unlock loads of Xbox exclusive games like Forza Horizon, Halo, and Microsoft Flight Simulator. There are also non-Xbox games like fortnite, also.
Access to Xbox Cloud Gaming requires a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. That’s $15 per month, and the first month is $1. You’ll get all the games you need for cloud gaming, plus access to PC games, Xbox Live Gold, and EA Play with monthly benefits.
Check out Xbox Game Pass
5. Google Play Store
Last on our list is one of the most simple ways to game on your Chromebook. It’s the Google Play Store. The Google Play Store comes preinstalled on most modern Chromebooks and gives you access to thousands of Android games. The possibilities are endless here, and you’ll find games like angry birds, asphalt 9, solitaire, and much more. These games will download as an Android app, and since the Play Store knows you’re using a Chromebook, you’ll only see the games that will work with your device. Note that the Google Play Store even has a section where you can find games made specifically for Chromebooks. Just click a file Chromebook tab under it games Surf away!
Browse the Google Play Store
More is always coming
For most people, the best way to play will be through a cloud gaming service like Nvidia GeForce Now. If you like, you can also try Steam as well, although a lot of games may not work due to the high demands of many titles. Google may not have its own cloud gaming service anymore, since Stadia has been shut down, but it’s always looking for new partners. The most recent one was Boosteroid, another service available as a PWA.