If there’s one thing I don’t have on my Chromebook I wished I had, it’s a working version of Steam. I know I can get around that by installing the Linux version of the popular PC gaming client, but let’s just say performance wasn’t the best in my experience. It looks like Google read my mind, because the company is working to bring official Steam support to Chrome OS.
Speaking with Android Police, Chrome OS Director of Product Management Kan Liu confirmed he and the Chrome team are working to bring Steam to the operating system. Liu also said Chrome OS’ Linux compatibility will allow the project to move forward. He didn’t say if Google is working with Valve on the project or how far along the project currently is.
This might not seem like news if you’re very familiar with Chrome OS, since you can use the Crostini Linux compatibility layer to install Steam onto your Chromebook. However, the lack of official support means performance is spotty at best. In my experience, I couldn’t even get a 2D game like Bastion to run smoothly on my Acer Chromebook Spin 13. Keep in mind Bastion is a game that was first available as a browser game. Half-Life 2 was also a sputtering mess, which I partially blame on Chromebooks’ limited graphics acceleration.
Gaming Chromebooks? Gaming Chromebooks!
Speaking of performance, Liu said we will see more powerful Chromebooks down the line. He didn’t say if these Chromebooks will have discrete graphics, but I’ll be honest: I’m salivating at the thought. As someone who’s fully immersed in Chrome OS, having access to Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics would significantly improve my gaming experience.
Then again, how many computer manufacturers are chomping at the bit to make a gaming Chromebook? Yes, Chromebooks have gotten to the point where they can run less-intensive titles. The problem is not many people use Chrome OS, even though it’s the popular choice for schools. Chromebooks have access to the Google Play Store and Google Stadia, but Windows continues to be the top destination for computer gaming.
Regardless, Chromebook fans like myself have reason to be excited by the news. Liu didn’t say when official Steam support will arrive on Chromebooks, but I now have one more reason to stay and see what happens with Chrome OS.
Source: Android Police