I’ve been a lover of the Chromebook ever since it was released in 2011. Chrome OS did suffer from limitations at the beginning but over the years these have all been resolved. I never thought I’d see the day where I can play PC games on my Chromebook though. Well, you finally can and best of all it works.
I was pretty sceptical at first about the new GeForce Now service from Nvidia. After all, I use an Intel i7 PC with a GTX 1070 8GB graphics card when playing my games on a PC. So I immediately thought this would not be possible.
Also, I’ve previously tried playing Steam games using Linux. It works but the gaming quality is so poor it’s not even worth it.
So I signed up to the free version first of GeForce Now to check it out. All I can say is I was blown away. I tried a game from Steam first and it worked just fine. I then played a more advanced graphics game I have with UPlay and that also worked.
It’s official, you can now play all your PC games on your Chromebook. Even games needing an expensive Graphics card on a PC can now be played on your Chromebook using GeForce Now.
I’m so excited about what this means for the Chromebook. I’ve already signed up to the paid version, which costs £4.99 a month. I’ll obviously continue to use the service and report back on what I find. Until then, I’ll explain what you need to do and how it all works.
GEFORCE NOW ON CHROMEBOOK
First of all, you need to visit GeForce Now and join the service to start playing your PC games. There are two memberships available. You’ve got the free membership and the paid version costing £4.99/$4.99.
There is currently a special offer at £24.95/$24.95, which gives you six months access and a few extra benefits. I’d try the free version first just to make sure it works with your Chromebook.
There is a list of Chromebooks Nvidia confirm work with GeForce Now. However, if your Chromebook is not on the list it doesn’t mean you will not be able to use the service. My Pixel Slate was not on the list but it worked just fine.
The only issue I did have was trying to find the portal the next day. I kept on getting back to the signup page. I eventually realised I needed to visit Play Geforce Now after registering for the first time. This then takes you directly to the gaming area.
On the Chromebook, there is no app to download. Once you’ve registered you simply enter the Play Geforce Now portal, which I’ve linked above. You’re essentially using your Chrome OS browser to play the games, so it’s good no apps need to be installed.
WHY I’M EXCITED ABOUT GEFORCE NOW
It was good news to hear about Stadia, which is a streaming games service from Google. It’s very similar to GeForce Now but does not allow you to access games you already have on PC platforms.
Instead, with Stadia you get access to games you can stream from your Chromebook. This is great if you’re into console-style games, but not so great if you prefer strategy style games you get on a PC.
The great thing about GeForce now is it has games you can stream just like Stadia. The best thing though is you can add games from platforms such as Steam and Uplay.
This means if you’ve already purchased games from these services. You can easily add them to your GeForce Now portal. Also, it’s a lot easier to do than you might think.
I’ve got games with both Steam and UPlay. I tried to add a game from each service. The experience was a little different and I preferred how easy UPlay was compared to Steam. However, it was still easy enough to get my Steam game installed.
ADDING GAMES FROM UPLAY
At the moment I’m really into Anno 1800. If you’ve never heard of the game before and you like strategy games then check it out. The graphics are great and although I’ve got a really powerful PC. It still takes ages to load the game. This is for two reasons. First, we all know how long Microsoft computers can take to boot, and secondly, the game itself takes ages to load.
So I was really surprised with how fast the game booted on my Chromebook. It was so much quicker than on my PC. Also, adding the game was really easy.
From your GeForce now portal you can simply search for a game at the top of the page. Type in the game you’re looking for and It shows the different services where the game is available.
I had to enter my UPlay login details and once I did this the game started to boot. Getting to a stage where I could finally play one of my favourite games on a Chromebook was getting me really excited.
The great news is I can. The graphics were set to the lowest level and I’ve not yet changed the graphic settings, but it worked exactly how it does on my PC.
The best thing is, which was rather strange is I did not need to install the game either. It just streamed the game directly. This was not the same with Steam, which I’ll get onto next.
ADDING GAMES FROM STEAM
It was a little bit different when using Steam. I thought I’d try a game, which is not so graphics-heavy. It’s still a game, which processes thousands of instructions per second, but the graphics are more like what you’d get on the Southpark TV show.
I thought I’d choose Prison Architect, which is a game I used to enjoy playing. It’s still a great game, but once I’ve played a game for so many hours. I tend to a little bored.
It’s the same process of simply typing the name of the game in the GeForce Now Portal. This time I chose Steam because this is where I originally bought the game from.
I found installing the Steam game a little more confusing. Also, unlike Uplay where the game just played. This particular Steam game needed to install. For it to install it uses a virtual local drive, which must be located on the Nvidia servers. You can see it’s a virtual local drive because the location begins with C:\.
I had to wait for the game to install. This did not take too long, but it was not as seamless compared to UPlay. However, once the game installed I managed to play the game, and again, it worked just like it did on my PC.
So in about half an hour. I managed to play two PC games on my Chromebook, which I never thought I’d see happen. Like I said I’ve played Steam games via Linux, but they are so poor it’s not worth it.
Playing PC games on your Chromebook using GeForce Now just works. I’m so happy because it means I no longer need to wait for an age for my PC to boot when I want to play a game.
PLAYING PC GAMES ON MY PIXEL SLATE
First of all, I played the games on my Pixel Slate. I’ve got the standard version, which comes with the Intel M3 processor. The games played absolutely fine and I did not experience any issues when it came to performance.
However, one thing I did notice is neither of the games played too well with the trackpad. First of all, it’s hard to use all the functions you get from a mouse on a trackpad. Secondly, it was really sensitive and zooming in and out of the game, for example, was just too quick and difficult to master.
The games looked great though as you’d expect on a display resolution you get on the Pixel Slate. If you’re using a Chromebook I’d definitely suggest using an external mouse.
The one I have, which supports USB C and the older type USB connection was from Amazon. It’s a great mouse, so I’d definitely recommend it if you’ve not yet gone one. I’ve added links below.
PLAYING PC GAMES ON MY CHROMEBOX
Although it’s great being able to play games on my Chromebook. I also wanted to check out whether it would work on my Chromebox.
The advantages to this are you’ve got a traditional keyboard and mouse. The biggest advantage though is you’ve got a bigger screen. You can, of course, use a big screen on your Chromebook though, you just need to connect it to an external display and all should be fine.
I played Anno 1800 on my Asus Chromebox 3 and it played just fine. I did notice the graphics were set to low a lot more though. That’s the great thing about the Pixel Slate. The resolution is so high it manages to disguise the graphics compared to the Full HD monitor I used with my Chromebox.
Well, who would have thought it? I’ll admit it right now that I never thought I’d see the day you could play strategy PC games on your Chromebook.
I’ve only used GeForce Now for a couple of days. However, my experience so far has been really positive. The free version is limited because it only allows you to play a game for one hour.
If you like your PC games and already have plenty on Steam or Uplay. Then I’d definitely sign up to the paid version. You get priority access to the servers and the one-hour time limit is removed.
At the moment it all works fine. Let’s just hope when more of us sign up to service the servers can cope. I’ll have to try playing the games on a higher graphics setting and report back.
Until then. Well, I think I might play a few hours of Anno 1800 on my Chromebook. I genuinely never thought I’d hear myself say those words. PC games now available on the Chromebook. It’s simply fantastic news.