When it comes to gaming on Chrome OS we’ve seen a lot of changes in the last couple of years. The first time you had a chance to play games on a Chromebook was when Android Apps became accessible on the platform. Although these games were a great addition they are not the type of games you can get really involved in.
I’ve previously said to play PC-style games on your Chromebook would be impossible. This is because your Chromebook would need a dedicated graphics card for gaming. I was glad to be proven wrong on this when we saw the launch of Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now. These platforms made it possible to play console and PC-style games directly on your Chromebook or Chromebox. A graphics card was not needed locally because all the game processing is done remotely.
Since the launch of GeForce Now I’ve spent many hours on my Chromebox playing my favourite PC games. This has been great because it meant I no longer had to use my Windows PC to play these games. Having access to PC-style games on a Chromebox that boots up in less than ten seconds compared to waiting minutes for my Windows PC is great. However, these games stream from Stadia and GeForce servers so you need an excellent internet connection. If you don’t have this you’ll possibly have issues when playing games.
Playing games locally on your Chromebook
At the moment it still isn’t practical to play PC games locally on your Chromebook. Although you can install Steam via Linux. Steam cannot use the full processing power of your device. This is mainly due to security and the need to have Linux apps running on a virtual machine. A Virtual machine helps keep your Chromebook secure. However, they also make it more difficult to get full access to the processing power your device is capable of.
I’m sure the Linux App that Steam is working on closely with Google is going to deal with this issue. If the Steam App can have direct access to the processing power of your Chromebook. This will mean playing games locally on your Chromebook will be possible. This will be great for Chrome OS because it will remove the need for a solid internet connection.
That being said, at the moment Chromebooks do not come with a dedicated graphics card. A dedicated graphics card is absolutely essential if you want to play games with advanced graphics locally. Sure, you’ll be able to play some games without a dedicated graphics card, but you will be limited to the type of games you can play. There are some excellent Linux games you can install, which I do enjoy, but they provide pretty basic graphics.
Chromebooks with a dedicated graphics card
If the Linux Steam App manages to use all of the processing power available on your Chromebook. Then it will only be a matter of time before we see Chromebooks with a dedicated graphics card. There is evidence of this being the case and you can find out more at Chrome Unboxed.
Laptops capable of playing advanced PC games have always cost a lot more. This is because dedicated graphics cards are not cheap. Personally speaking, I’ll be more than happy to pay more for a Chromebook if it comes with a dedicated graphics card. Although I like playing games by streaming then using GeForce Now. Not all games are available to play using this service.
If we start to see Chromebooks and Chromeboxes with a dedicated Graphic card. We can expect these devices to come with a hefty price tag. This isn’t something you can get around because a dedicated graphics card is nearly as important as the CPU when it comes to advanced gaming. I’m just glad we are now possibly getting to a position where we’ll be able to play PC games locally on a Chrome OS computer.