So, what do I think now? Does this little notebook fill every need? Well, yes and no. It's definitely able to do what I want it to do, but I want it to do some pretty specific things. I also wanted to show that gaming, especially massively multiplayer gaming, is accessible from the 'Book. Why? The truth is that I wanted to illustrate how MMO games not only come in all shapes and sizes, but that there are many different communities all over the world that enjoy very successful browser-based, "low-tech" MMOs. As far as Massively is concerned, this experiment was an attempt to sneak in some very cool MMOs under the guise of "cool new gadget."
So, how does the Samsung Chromebook perform when it comes to MMOs? First of all, it's important to mention that the device I am using is the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook. It's officially called the Samsung Chromebook, but the manufacturer makes other series as well. Some 'Bookers also refer to it as the ARM-based 'Book, referring to its ARM-based processor. Either way, just be aware that performance across different Chromebooks can vary. The Series 5 550 by Samsung, for example, offers more processing power and RAM and so gaming on it will be even easier. More companies are rumored to be getting into the Chromebook game, and there is even talk about a Chromebook tablet!
"This means that the games on the Chromebook will come from HTML5 or Flash developers, as well as others that do not rely heavily on realistic graphics or literal gameplay."
You'll be playing a lot of MMORTS' or strategy games, or many games that come from the "set it and forget it" school of design. I have about a dozen or so favorites that I visit each morning on the Chromebook while I eat breakfast. I will set my armies into motion, research a skill or start a job and then I'll re-visit the games later in the day. Don't worry, the games I have written about in this series are still MMOs, even though they do not require a massive hard drive install and do not look as good as Guild Wars 2. That shouldn't matter, anyway, as one day this basic, more inexpensive computing will naturally become more and more robust when it comes to graphics.
Once you get used to using a tablet, Chromebook, or smartphone for playing MMOs you might really start to prefer the pace. I like to take my time and make a move, similar to playing a massive thousand-player chess game. Many of the browser-based games I came to love during this month with the Chromebook feature several layers of persistence because my character or cities stay on the map, open to attack or influence, even when I was logged out. In many of the social MMOs I found my town or village could be visited and effected by other players 24 hours a day.
So, was the Samsung Chromebook able to do everything I needed it to do, all for only $249 US? I'd have to say yes, for sure, but there are some tasks that still need to be done on my gaming PC. I stream games from my desktop, for example, or use that heavier machine when I need to check out a game like DC Universe Online's new housing. So, if you prefer 3D, realistic graphics then the Chromebook is not for you. But, if you have some room in your life for a bit of browser-based strategy and open PvP worlds, I would pick up a Chromebook for those times when you're sitting on the couch and want to check in on a game.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Samsung Chromebook (2012)