The new Chromebook: perfect for a browser gamer?

One thing that drives me nuts about my new nerdy window-shopping obsession (the new Chromebooks) is that the reviewer of the device will almost always comment how it is not “for gaming.” There are a few reasons this drives me nuts.

1) This is obvious to anyone who knows the slightest about tech specs. But, it is referring mainly to client-based and graphically-intense games like WoW, Call of Duty or browser-based games that utilize fancy engines like Unity.

2) This acknowledgment of the device’s lack of gaming power shows just how ignorant the reviewer is of the browser-based gaming world. Facebook alone hosts thousands of titles — MMORPG and others — that can easily run on the new Chromebook. I have a netbook that is weaker and can run these titles.

3) This lack of knowledge of the browser-based gaming world shows how millions and millions and millions of gamers from titles like RuneScape, Club Penguin, Dungeon Overlord and so many others are ignored by the press all the time. If it’s not Guild Wars 2, it’s not news I guess?

4) This lack of browser-based information (well, they will mention Angry Birds!) sells the device short. Browser-based gaming is likely MORE popular than most client-based gaming combined. I can show you a single browser-based title that boasts tens of millions of players.

As I wrote in a recent column, I realized that despite my recent purchase of a more powerful gaming rig, I still find myself more fascinated by browser-based games. I am not sure if it’s because they often feel to me like a pocket-sized world, thanks to the literal limits of the browser window or because the developers of these titles are often more clever in their design than in most other titles.

Either way, the browser is the way we hit the internet. It is not going away. It might morph but there will always be a window to the web. Games that run inside that window will only grow in popularity, alongside games for mobile devices like tablet apps and phone downloads.

So, would the Chromebook be the perfect device for the games I mostly enjoy? I hope to find out, especially as the prices of the Chromebooks push down into the 200s. Within a few years they will be much more powerful but still cheap. There will be some limitations, but as someone who uses the browser for pretty much everything now, it’s not surprising that actually purchasing a Chromebook means waiting around for one to be available. They have been selling out like hotcakes.

I plan on checking one out at some point, but continue to fitz around with gaming both within the browser on my desktop machine, my 7 inch Nexus 7 tab and my touchscreen netbook. As I do, I find more and more great games that run on almost all of the devices. Even then, I plan on eventually graduating to an all-in-one device like a Chromebook that also allows me to write as well as I can on the desktop. The desktop remains there for streaming games and for when I need to play a more demanding client-based title.

At 250, it’s no surprise that many people want these new Chromebooks. I can imagine educators using them and students grabbing one for quick notes. With more and more of our campuses and public spaces offering free WiFi, the Chromebook might be a perfect device that doers not require constant upgrades or worries over viruses.

We’ll see. Until I find out, I’ll continue to window shop.




Author: Beau Hindman

I write for a living, which means that I sit around in my PJs all day. I love it.

5 thoughts on “The new Chromebook: perfect for a browser gamer?”

  1. I have one of the first cr-48 chromebooks. I use it a lot. Think of it like a tablet with a keyboard and touch pad. It is perfect for the kids to do homework on. Watch netflix. Battery lasts a long time. Boots up like a tablet, almost instant on.

    Since my model is old by internet standards, it does not handle games very well. Choppy and slow at times. It can do it, but it struggles. I’m sure the newer models are greatly improved. The price is a steal in my opinion and I am considering buying one for each of my kids.

    1. I should add that I did play a lot of Glitch on it and for the most part no issues. Sometimes slow and choppy but in general it did well.

      1. Yeah that new one has even a more powerful processor than my netbook, and it can do so many games. I want to show just how much a single device can do, and I am intrigued by the OS.

        Thanks for the info!


        1. Using Google Drive or the like for document storage and having access to a Google Print ready printer are the keys to happiness for homework and kids. It’s a great computer for guests to use while visiting as well. Never fear losing anything important due to the bad behavior of others.

  2. They insisted that the chromebook was not for gaming to show which type of demographics the new product was targeted towards. It is more ignorant that you did not understand just why it is so important to the consumer and Google. It does not have the specifications in which many people are looking for these days. While most people have an internet connection in some shape or form, many do so for pleasure. There are not many that drop thousand of dollars simply to play angry birds or other browser-based games. In addition, the notion that the browser will always be alive is not backed by any evidence. Many computer/internet users are beginning to move away from opening browsers to do anything (a reason why Steam is so popular in the gaming world).
    You can not claim that browser games are more popular simply by the number of users they have because access to it is so simple. In order to measure popularity equally amongst browser and client based games, you would do so with retention of users and net revenue of specific periods. As such, you will clearly see that client based games are indeed the future (Zynga is laughable). In conclusion, the chromebook is great for those that want to use it for 30 minutes before going to bed. While there are people like that, it will be hard to penetrate that market segment due to Apple’s reign. It just simply does not offer the value to a customer to switch operating systems, processors, graphic cards, and other specifications just to play browser-based games.

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