Using a Chromebook to play PC games locally is something that would have been unheard of a few years ago. The very idea of playing PC games locally on a Chromebook was seen as absurd. However, here we are in 2022 and Steam Alpha is already proving this will become reality.
There are only a handful of Chromebooks currently available that will work with Steam Alpha. These Chromebooks all have something in common. They have superpowerful processors and at least 8GB of RAM.
The processors that are supported tend to come from the eleventh generation with at least quad-core processing. This means an Intel i3, which is a really powerful Chromebook will not work with Steam Alpha due to only being dual-core. You’d have to have a quad-core, which starts with the Intel i5.
A powerful processor will only work with some games
It’s true there are many games you can play, which will work with these eleventh-generation processors. You’ll tend to find these types of games are either much older or games that do not use advanced graphics.
The more powerful games that people tend to love playing are usually designed to take full advantage of the available tech. A game developer wants to make their next game the best to compete with other gaming studios.
To do this they will code the game based on the latest technology. This will most likely mean you’ll need minimum system requirements to play these games. This would usually include a dedicated graphics card (GPU).
Processors with integrated graphics
All processors will have some type of integrated graphics. The basic processors will not be capable of true gaming and even the most powerful processors integrated graphics will never compete against a dedicated GPU.
I know that Nvidia is working with processor manufacturers to try and change this. Perhaps this means we will start to see processors with integrated graphics that are truly capable. However, I’m unsure whether this would mean all games could be played on such a processor.
Game studios are not going to make a game that will work with a processor with integrated graphics. If it will mean the game is not as impressive as it could have been if they created it to work with a more powerful dedicated GPU.
It will depend on the success of Steam Alpha
Whether we see Chromebooks in the future with a dedicated graphics card. Will ultimately depend on the success of Steam Alpha on Chrome OS. I’m hoping Steam Alpha is the success that everyone wants to see. I’m also pretty confident that it is possible.
At the moment I’ve played a few games using Steam Alpha on my Asus CX5. These included Civilization and Age of Empires 2. It’s fair to say neither of these games is graphically intensive, but we are in very early stages.
I’m sure in the future Steam Alpha will be more than capable of playing advanced games. The only real limitation I can see is the processing power of Chromebooks. For truly advanced gaming locally on a Chromebook, I can’t see how it would be possible without a dedicated graphics card.
The more successful Steam becomes on Chrome OS. The more advanced future Chromebooks will become. I don’t think you need to be concerned about the cost. We’ll most likely see a new tier of Chromebooks that are specifically designed for gaming.
We are already seeing this to some extent. What is concerning is that some of these are already pretty expensive. The question is how expensive will gaming Chromebooks be in the future if they come with a dedicated graphics card?
I’m really excited about gaming on Chrome OS. Although I hope Steam Alpha is the success that everyone wants to see. I’m not too sure I’d be happy owning a Chromebook that was heavy and really noisy due to the fans that would be needed to keep the superpowerful processors cool whilst gaming.