Serious gaming on Chromebooks just became a reality — here's how

An image of a man gaming on the Acer Chromebook 516 GE
(Image credit: Acer)

Proper gaming on Google Chromebooks has just been made a reality, thanks to a trio of new Chrome OS laptops with distinct gaming features: the Acer Chromebook 516 GE, Asus Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip, and Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook. 

While the best Chromebooks make for affordable yet surprisingly capable alternatives to Windows and Mac laptops, proving particularly popular with students, they lack the power for proper gaming. 

But thanks to the power of cloud game streaming and compatibility with Xbox Cloud Gaming (via Xbox Game Pass), Nvidia GeForce Now, and Amazon’s Luna2, you can now game on Chromebooks with even the most middling of specs.

So what makes this new trio of Chromebooks tailored for triple-A gaming? Well they come with high-resolution 120Hz refresh rate displays and feature RGB keyboards and a range of ports for connecting a wealth peripherals. 

And with Wifi 6 or 6E connectivity, these machines should have the means to help provide a steady connection between them and the cloud streaming service of choice.

a photo of a trio of gaming Chromebooks

(Image credit: Google)

So this combination of gaming-centric hardware and access to things like the RTX 3080 tier of GeForce Now (the most powerful option), should deliver access to the latest  graphically demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 at solid framerates, with some even cresting 120 frames per second to take advantage of the high refresh rate screens. The likes of GeForce Now also opens up access to ray tracing in games, something that can bring even the best gaming PCs to their knees. 

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming can also be installed as a web app to provide access to some of the best Xbox Game Pass Games like Forza Horizon 5 and a host of Xbox and PC classics. 

Amazon’s Luna2 rounds out an extensive cloud gaming catalog with some of the best PC games available, bringing the total to 1,500 console and PC games available to stream from the get-go. Without a single download or install necessary, gamers will be able to hop from one blockbuster to another on a whim.

With the Acer Chromebook 516 GE costing $649/£849/around AUD$1,032 and Lenovo’s IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook coming in at $599/about £540/roughly AUD$951, these aren't going to be the cheapest Chromebooks ever, but they look set to be the most capable for gaming on the go. 

Andy Sansom
Trainee Writer

Andy is Tom’s Guide’s Trainee Writer, which means that he currently writes about pretty much everything we cover. He has previously worked in copywriting and content writing both freelance and for a leading business magazine. His interests include gaming, music and sports- particularly Formula One, football and badminton. Andy’s degree is in Creative Writing and he enjoys writing his own screenplays and submitting them to competitions in an attempt to justify three years of studying.