Just a few years ago, it would have been odd to consider Chromebooks for gaming. While it’s still not the most advanced laptop out there, there’s a good number of games that can be played natively.
Many more recent Chromebooks support games, too, particularly Android games. Gamers can also use streaming services from companies like Microsoft and Valve.
With all these opportunities available for gaming, it’s no wonder that more people are exploring what Chromebooks can do. If you’re planning on expanding your Chromebook’s use beyond productivity, then here are some of the best gaming accessories to use.
Gamers often appreciate mechanical keyboards for responsive key presses and sometimes programmable macro keys for MMORPGs and MOBAs. Since Chromebooks are not usually considered gaming devices, companies like Razer usually don’t have a version of their software available for them, so you’ll need a rather complicated workaround to fine tune things like lighting. If you’d prefer something more simple (and affordable), the Aukey KMG12 is about as decent mechanical keyboards get in a lower price range.
If you’re super casual and want an all-around mouse, something like Logitech’s Pebble M350 is quiet and small enough for a pocket. For really getting your game on, though, high precision mice with extra programmable buttons like the League of Legends Edition wireless gaming mouse are also increasingly certified for ChromeOS and among the most popular gaming PC accessories. That one even comes with optional cool lighting effects in case you want to flex (albeit run down the battery faster).
With all the videoconferencing we’re doing these days, gaming headsets aren’t just for gaming. That said, the Arctis 3 from Steelseries will work with almost any game-capable hardware you throw at it, including consoles and Android phones thanks to its USB-C cable and Bluetooth capability. The mic is clear while the colors are understated enough for Zoom.
This is one of the easiest accessories to find suitable options — controllers from all the big names like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo should pair without hassle, although you might have to tinker with button mapping in different programs as you would in Windows. If you mainly want to play retro titles or fighters, the placement of the direction pad on Google’s own Stadia gaming controller makes it a good option. 8-bit Do also has a series of popular retro-themed options, as well as their super cute ‘Zero’ and ‘Lite’ pads perfect for portable gaming.
Since not all peripherals are wireless or USB-C compatible, and Chromebooks often come with only this port type nowadays, an extension dock can really help. One good choice would be the Choetech USB-C Multiport Adapter, which has HDMI-out for a monitor, two USB-A ports, SD for extra storage and ethernet for faster internet connections.
Work and Play
Gaming peripherals are essential to the experience, but they often require specific drivers to make use of their full functionality. While Chrome OS can handle the core functionality of most accessories straight out of the box, you’ll want to make sure they’re fully compatible, so you can take advantage of all the features designed to improve the gaming experience.
Chromebooks are opening up to games more and more these days, and especially if you’re willing to spend some time messing around with options on Linux. The good news is that the ‘plug-and-play’ hardware experience is improving, too, so it’s so much easier to get your game on.