Do you remember a few years ago when the idea of gaming on a Chromebook was a laughable one? I do. I’m not exactly a hardcore gamer or anything, but I always wished there were a few more options for Chromebooks than just web-based games. While I once thought Android would help to solve that problem, it’s only been a mildly-effective salve since developers seem to still largely ignore the larger-screened, keyboard/mouse-possessing Chromebook platform.
Things are changing, however, and much of it started with Stadia. With their clear and unwavering inclusion of Chromebooks in the entire process, Google made it a point that game streaming on Chrome OS was set to be a great experience. Soon after, GeForce NOW exited its long beta status and finally delivered a Chromebook-specific version of its very excellent web player. Then we began hearing all about the new wave of Chromebooks with both the new Intel Xe graphics onboard and the AMD-powered devices that will equip a far-superior GPU versus any Chromebook we currently have. This is all coming on the heels of a confirmation from Google that Steam for Chromebooks is also in the works. That’s a ton of options available now and coming soon!
Not to be left out of the party, it seems Microsoft is completely OK with its own XBOX Game Pass streaming service being offered up on Chromebooks, too. As a matter of fact, not only does this service work well on Chromebooks, it technically isn’t yet even available for Windows users! Technically speaking, this is all working via the Android app that is largely meant for Android phones and tablets, but with Chromebooks being the Swiss Army Knife of the computing world, it isn’t really surprising that we can already take advantage of the service on our Chromebooks right now.
Get up and running with XBOX Game Pass on your Chromebook
To get started, you obviously need an XBOX Game Pass subscription. You can get the Game Pass Ultimate subscription for only $1 for the first month, so that’s what I went with to get rolling. Once you have that all set up and running, you can simply hit up the Play Store and search for XBOX Game Pass (Beta), install, open it up, and sign in with that fresh Game Pass Ultimate account you just created. Finally, get a controller (literally any controller will do) and either plug it in or pair it up via Bluetooth, and you’re ready to start playing the wide variety of XBOX games already on the service. The official Game Pass site lists 175 titles currently available with more on the way every month.
A few things need to be noted, however. First, there is a tiny bit of lag present in the interface and in games. It is slight, but it is there for both wired and wireless controllers alike. I was able to play Doom Eternal fairly fluently, but for competitive play, I think you’d be at a disadvantage. It was far less noticeable for driving games or slower action games that don’t require super-twitchy response times.
Second, this is an Android app in beta. There is always the chance that Microsoft chooses to drop support for Chromebooks in the future. There are simple ways for developers to remove Play Store listings for Chrome OS, so if that was the case, I’d expect they would have already done so. But we’ve seen things like this before where developers let their non-Chrome OS app slip through the cracks only to remove it again (*cough* Adobe Premiere Rush *cough*). We would advise you enjoy Game Pass while it is here, don’t get too attached, and hope that it gets an official blessing from Microsoft at some point down the road.