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How to Download Games on a Chromebook in 3 Steps

HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook

How to Download Games on a Chromebook in 3 Steps

Chromebooks have come a long way and vary in size, performance, and capability. In 2016, Google made Chrome OS compatible with Android apps, allowing users to play and download games on a Chromebook from the Google Play Store. What is more, the latest Chromebooks are also integrated with Linux to give users a more immersive experience. However, that’s not the case with all Chromebook models. Some still lack these features due to hardware limitations. You can check if your Chromebook qualifies to run Android apps and games from Google’s official website

So, the question is: “What are some easy ways to download games on a Chromebook?” Well, there are quite a lot of options. You can install them directly from Google Play Store or Chrome Web Store. Another way is to download Steam—a popular gaming marketplace—on your Chromebook to access your favorite games easily. It’s also possible to install Windows on your Chromebook to play games, but it’s a hassle. Let’s look at how you can download games on a Chromebook in detail.

How to Download Games on a Chromebook From the Google Play Store

If you have a Chromebook manufactured in 2016 or later, the Google Play Store will already be installed on your device. You can open the app and browse through various games and applications, just like on your Android phone. Once you locate the icon, follow the below steps to download games on a Chromebook:

Step 1: Find the Game in the Play Store

<Image 1>

Screenshot Find the Game in the Play Store
Search for your favorite game, or any title.

Wait for the Google Play Store’s homepage to load. Then, search for the game or app you want to download in the search bar and click on it. 

Step 2: Install and Open the Game

Screenshot: Install and Open the Game
Download and install the game on your device.

On the next screen, hit the green “Install” option. If you can’t find any app in your Chromebook’s Play Store, it means it isn’t compatible with your device. Depending on your internet connection’s speed, the game will be installed on your device soon. You will see the “Open” button; click on it or close the Google Play Store and launch the game from the Chromebook’s Launcher.

Step 3: Give Permissions

Screenshot: Give Permission
Grant the app the necessary access permissions.

The game app will then ask permission to access different features on your Chromebook, such as photos, microphones, or media. Select “Allow” to proceed. If you downloaded an “instant game app,” you can try it out before installing it on your Chromebook. That’s it.

You can also change an app’s permissions later. For that, open Chromebook’s Settings, select “Apps,” and click on “Manage Your Apps” present on the screen’s right. Then, choose the game app you’ve just downloaded to modify its settings or uninstall it. Now, turn the toggle on or off next to each permission requirement or tap “Uninstall” to remove the app from your device. 

How To Download Games on a Chromebook via Steam

Don’t worry if your Chromebook has no Google Play Store. You can download Steam on your device and enjoy your favorite games. In case you don’t know, Steam is a marketplace for more than 8,000 video games, with most available for free. You can also buy and download games on a Chromebook through Steam. 

Steam is available on Google Play Store, but if it’s unavailable, you can do it via Linux. For that, your Chromebook must have Linux support. If it has, you will have first to install Linux on your device in the below steps:

Step 1: Open Settings on Your Chromebook

Screenshot Open Settings
Go to settings on your control panel.

First, you’ll have to install Linux on your Chromebook. For that, click on the wheel icon in the Quick Settings menu.

Step 2: Click on “Developers”

Screenshot: Click on Developers
Scroll down and click on Developers.

In the Settings menu, choose “Advanced” from the left pane and then select “Developers.” if you can’t find this option, your Chromebook is school-issued. So, you’ll have to contact the administration. 

Step 3: Turn on Linux Beta

Screenshot: Turn on Linux Beta
Enable Linux Beta on your device.

On the next screen, you will see the “Linux development environment (Beta)” option in the Developers section. Click on “Turn on” to proceed. It will open a setup window. Hit the “Install” button to move forward.

Step 4: Choose the Storage Capacity for the Games

Screenshot: Choose the Storage Capacity for the Games

Now, enter your Linux username and click “Customized” to select the disk storage space based on the size of the games you want to play on your Chromebook. Then, hit “Install” to finally install Linux on your device. Once the installation is completed, you can download games on a Chromebook through the Linux Terminal.

Note: Don’t forget to enable Linux’s GPU acceleration on your Chromebook, as it ensures seamless and enhanced game graphics. However, it’s optional. 

Step 5: Enter the Command in Linux Terminal

Enter the Command in Linux Terminal
Run the command in Linux terminal.

Next, launch the Linux Terminal and enter the below command in it to update your Chromebook’s Linux to the latest version:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Step 6: Download the DEB Setup file for Steam 

Download Steam’s DEB setup file for Linux from a reliable source. It will be similar to the EXE format files you download on Windows. Once downloaded, open the “My Files” option on your left panel and tap “Linux files.” Then, move the DEB file to this section.

Step 7: Install Steam 

Screenshot: Install Steam
Use Steam launcher to download the latest Steam on your Chromebook.

Double-click Steam’s setup file and select the “Install” button to install the app. Once completed, open Steam. You can also launch it from your device’s App Drawer. Steam will automatically start downloading the necessary files, such as libraries and dependencies, required to run the app on a Chromebook.

The following video from Gauging Gadgets demonstrates how to install Steam on your Chromebook.


Step 8: Sign In To Steam

Screenshot: Sign into Steam
Sign up for a Steam account on your Chromebook.

After downloading Steam, you have to create an account. Choose your unique name and enter the password to use it for future log-ins. Steam will start running, allowing you to choose and download games on a Chromebook

Step 9: Modify Steam’s Settings To Support Different Games

Screenshot: Modify Steams Settings to Support Different Games
Customize your Steam settings to play different games on your laptop.

Lastly, you’d also have to change Steam’s settings on your Chromebook to ensure smooth gameplay. For that, launch Steam, open Settings, click Steam Play, check the box next to “Enable Steam Play for all other titles,” and tap “OK.” 

Don’t forget to select “Proton Experimental” in the “Run other titles with” option. Doing so will enable your Chromebook to run various Windows games, which might not be available for Linux.

Can You Download Games on a Chromebook From the Chrome Web Store?

Yes, you can. While Google Play Store is the easiest way to download games on a Chromebook, you can install them from Chrome Web Store. It hosts many applications and games to add to your Chromebook’s browser. 

Can You Install Windows on a Chromebook To Play Games?

Chromebook is a versatile laptop. While the device naturally comes with Chrome OS, you can install other operating systems, like Windows, Ubuntu, and CloudReady. If you want to download Windows, you can do it by using third-party drivers.

You will have to open up your Chromebook (for real) during the process, so you may damage anything if things go south. For this trick, you will need a USB flash drive, keyboard, mouse, and another Windows computer. So, collect all these things before moving forward. 

Once done, follow the below steps to install Windows and download games on a Chromebook:

  1. First, shut down your Chromebook and take its bottom lid off. 
  2. Then, find the “Write Protect Screw” in the motherboard and remove it.
  3. Now, on your Chromebook, hit the Refresh + Esc + Power buttons simultaneously to activate the Recovery Mode. 
  4. Then, press the combination of the same three buttons (Refresh, Esc, and Power) to enable the Developer Mode.
  5. Next, hit Ctrl + D simultaneously to boot your Chromebook’s operating system
  6. Enter the shell and click on “Enter.” Then, paste this command in the box: “cd ~; curl -L -O https://mrchromebox.tech/uefi-flash.sh && sudo bash uefi-flash.sh” and hit the “Enter” button. 
  7. Choose “Full Coreboot Firmware.” Enter “Y” to confirm this step and “U” to install the UEFI firmware on your Chromebook.

Using a USB Drive

  1. Now, open the Chrome browser on your Windows computer and visit Microsoft’s official website to install Windows 10 software for Chromebook
  2. Insert the USB into your computer and launch the downloaded file. Click on “Accept” to proceed.
  3. Choose “Create Installation media” for another PC and click “Next.”
  4. Next, select “Use the recommended options for this PC” and tap “Next.”
  5. Click on your USB drive and press “Next.” Wait some time, and then hit “Finish.”
  6. Now, insert the USB into your Chromebook to boot it directly. Alternatively, hit “Esc” when the Chromebook goes into booting mode and select your USB drive.
  7. Plug your USB mouse and keyboard into your Chromebook and choose your preferred region and language. Press “Next” and then “Install now.”
  8. Click on “I don’t have a product key” on the next screen and choose the Windows version you want to install. 
  9. Finally, pick “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced), delete the listed partitions, and hit Next. Allow Windows to install and reboot, then set it up to download games on a Chromebook. And you’re done!

As you can see, installing Windows on a Chromebook isn’t a piece of cake. You must be extra careful when removing its bottom shell and the “Write Protect Screw.” Not only that, but you must also prepare yourself to invest a lot of time and effort in this technique. You can only be successful if you follow every step carefully. 

Wrapping Up

If you have the latest Chromebook with Google Play Store, you can easily play and download any game. The process is the same as your Android phone. Just open Google Play Store, search for the game app, and install it. However, things can be tedious if your Chromebook doesn’t support Google Play Store. 

In such a case, you must set up the Linux operating system on your Chromebook to support the Steam app. Alternatively, you can install Windows on your device to download games on a Chromebook. We listed all these steps in detail in this guide!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get games on my Chromebook?

Chromebooks are not gaming devices, but you can download games on them. The easiest way is through Google Play Store and Chrome Web Store. If neither is available on your device, you can install Linux or Windows to play various games on your Chromebook.

Can I download games from the Chrome Web Store on a Chromebook?

You can download any app or game from the Chrome Web Store on your Chromebook. Open the store, search for your app, and choose “Add to Chrome.” Click “Buy” if the app is paid.

Why won't games download on my Chromebook?

Some games don’t work on Chromebooks. So, if you can’t find any on the Play Store, it means the developer hasn’t released the version for Chrome OS.

How to install a game on a Chromebook from Google Play Store?

You can install a game on a Chromebook like on your Android phone. Open the Play Store, find the game from the search bar, and click on it. Then, hit “Install” on the next screen, and the app will be automatically downloaded on your Chromebook.

Can I install an APK game file on Chromebook?

If you can’t find a game on Play Store on your Chromebook, you can download the APK file from external sources. Ensure they’re safe and don’t contain any virus, as they may corrupt your Chromebook’s entire system

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