Gaming Chromebooks are finally here, but not in the way you think
It's all about cloud gaming.
What you need to know
- Google is partnering with Chromebook and accessory makers to bring gaming Chromebooks to market.
- The focus of these Chromebooks will be on cloud gaming, as opposed to native gaming.
- ChromeOS is also gaining the ability to search for games directly from the launcher, with a catch.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen Google push the limits of what ChromeOS can offer. Gone are the days when the best Chromebooks are "limited" to being dedicated classroom devices. Now, if you look around at the market, you'll be greeted with different options that rival even some of the best Windows laptops. But until fairly recently, Windows laptops had an edge over Chromebooks for those who wanted to play games other than what was available on the Play Store.
Today, Google has announced its new Chromebook initiative, as it is partnering with Acer, Lenovo, and ASUS for a trio of gaming Chromebooks. All three of these Chromebooks have a little bit of something different to offer, while all are equipped with the necessary hardware to transform your productivity machine into a portable cloud gaming machine.
The three different Chromebooks being announced alongside Google's overarching announcement are the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook, and the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip. Instead of just telling users to install PWAs for their favorite cloud gaming services, Google has taken a few extra steps this time. In fact, Google has ensured that each of these gaming Chromebooks is capable of providing "console-class input latency of under 85ms" along with being able to "consistently deliver a smooth, responsive gaming experience with 120 frames per second."
Google's most recent announcement goes beyond Chromebooks and dives deeper into the world of cloud gaming. The company has also partnered with the likes of Microsoft for Xbox Cloud Gaming (Game Pass), Amazon Luna, and even NVIDIA GeForce NOW. And the partnership with NVIDIA is particularly interesting and enticing given that owners of any three of the aforementioned gaming Chromebooks will be able to enjoy some of the best AAA titles right on their Chromebook using the GeForce NOW 3080 tier.
NVIDIA also brings support for up to 1600p resolution displays, 120 frames per second, and "120Hz+ high-resolution displays." When everything is said and done, combining these three cloud streaming services will give you access to more than 1,500 of the best PC and console games, right from your Chromebook. Plus, these new Chromebooks will include a three-month free trial for both Amazon Luna+ and the GeForce NOW 3080 tier.
The fun doesn't stop there, as Google is also making it easier than ever to find your favorite games from any of the cloud gaming services. Simply click the Everything button on your Chromebook, start typing the title of the game, and fire it up in the available cloud gaming service, all right from the launcher search. Unfortunately, this functionality will be limited to the trio of new Chromebooks announced today. It's unclear whether the ability to search for games using the Everything button will make its way to older hardware.
Last, but certainly not least, Google is working with accessory makers as part of the Works with Chromebook program. By partnering with the likes of HyperX, SteelSeries, Corsair, and others, you'll be able to enjoy some of the best gaming peripherals to pair with your all-new gaming Chromebook.
It won't be long before you can finally make the most out of gaming on your Chromebook, especially once native Steam on Chromebooks leaves its "Alpha" state. You can truly transform the way you play games, without needing to worry about an increasing electric bill when using a traditional gaming PC.
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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.