NVIDIA GeForce NOW brings cloud gaming to Chromebooks

Chromebook owners can now access NVIDIA's GeForce NOW cloud gaming service, with a beta launch bringing the system to Chrome OS. GeForce NOW has already been available for PC, Mac, Android, and NVIDIA's own SHIELD devices, promising to run gaming PC-quality titles in the cloud so that your local device doesn't need to do the heavy lifting.

Arguably that's an even bigger deal when you're working with something like a Chromebook. Though we've seen more capable versions launch since the very early days of Chrome OS, where the specifications were netbook-level and mainly just sufficient to run a browser, Chromebooks still usually don't have performance graphics cards.

Indeed normally onboard graphics, rather than a discrete GPU, are the order of the day. No great hardship for most of what Chrome OS gets used for, but enough to count out serious games. That's where GeForce NOW steps in.

NVIDIA's service runs titles remotely, in the cloud, and then streams the gameplay to the Chromebook. It's the PC version of the game, from stores such as Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Ubisoft Uplay. More than 650 titles are currently accessible, NVIDIA says, with upcoming releases including Cyberpunk 2077 later in the year.

Gamers are able to play via the Chromebook with anybody else using GeForce NOW, whether they're on an Android smartphone, a SHIELD TV hooked up to their TV or projector, or a PC or Mac. NVIDIA suggests you might want to plug in a mouse first, rather than rely on your trackpad, mind.

GeForce NOW gets new PC gaming features

Meanwhile, NVIDIA has also launched a new Steam Game Sync tool, for those who already have sizable Steam libraries of titles they've already bought. That's just arrived for PC and Mac, and the company says "it's quickly become one of our most popular features" for gamers on those platforms. Chromebook users will "soon" be able to use the tool too, NVIDIA confirms.

Chrome OS also doesn't have access to the GeForce Experience Highlights feature, which automatically captures video of your gameplay for sharing later on, and the Freestyle feature to customize how a game looks is also absent. PC and Mac users of GeForce NOW are also getting Ansel support, for pro-grade screenshots via an in-game camera. They'll all be added for Chromebook gamers "in future updates," NVIDIA promises.

NVIDIA offers both free and paid "Founders" memberships to GeForce NOW, and Chrome OS users can sign up from today.