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Can you game on a Chromebook?

Xbox Controller in front of Steam on Acer Chromebook Spin 713 in tent mode
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Can you game on a Chromebook?

Yes, you can game on a Chromebook. In addition to the various titles available through the Play Store, some Chromebook models offer the ability to play games through Steam.

Gaming on Chromebooks is as easy as it gets

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 GTA San Andreas frozen

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

If you're trying to enjoy some downtime and want to play some games, you have plenty of options. Many of the best Android games will also work on the best Chromebooks with ease. And with the larger screen sizes available, you won't feel cramped when messing around. 

Beyond what's available to download from the Play Store, Chromebook owners have quite a few options at their disposal. Provided that you have the necessary files, you can even go through and install some of the best emulators, allowing you to play classic games on a larger screen. 

Then, there's the entire realm of cloud game streaming from services such as Xbox Game Pass, NVIDIA GeForce Now, and of course, Google Stadia. The benefit of using a game streaming service is that you don't have to worry about storage space. Instead, you'll just need to ensure that you have a fast internet connection. 

No matter what type of games you want to play, you can pair your favorite controller to your Chromebook. Naturally, this provides a much more comfortable and enjoyable gaming experience, as you won't have to deal with frustrating touch-screen controls. While there are a lot of touch-optimized games on the likes of Xbox Game Pass, nothing really beats being able to use your trusty controllers like the 8Bitdo Pro 2 or Xbox Core Controller. 

Chromebook gaming is getting serious

Play Steam Games on Chromebook

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

It's actually been somewhat possible to play your favorite Steam games on a Chromebook. But this required you to enable and install Linux on your Chromebook, which isn't the most intuitive experience out there. Google and Valve have been working together to help make life a bit easier, as Steam Alpha was announced early in 2021. 

With Steam Alpha, you can install the proper version of Steam on your Chromebook. Unlike gaming on something like a Windows PC, not all games are compatible, but it's still early in the development process, hence the "Alpha" moniker. However, the current catalog of compatible games is already quite extensive, so there's definitely something available for everyone. 

The other "problem" with trying to use Steam Alpha is your Chromebook itself. This program is not available for all Chromebook owners and instead requires your device to have at least an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics, and at least 8GB of RAM. There is a list of Steam-compatible Chromebooks, but it's not very extensive at this time. 

We expect that list to grow, especially once Intel's 12th Gen processors begin making their way into newly-released Chromebook models. But as it currently stands, you can pick up something like the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 or ASUS Chromebook CX9. These are both on the approved list of devices, but you will need to take a few steps if you want to install Steam on Chromebooks. 

Andrew Myrick
Andrew Myrick

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.