What do you know about Steam on Chromebook? Last week in Las Vegas I spoke with the Director (Kan Liu) of Product Management for Google’s Chrome OS. During the discussion, Liu drops something like a bombshell on me. He said that the Chrome team is working in collaboration with Valve—to bring Steam to Chromebooks.
Liu refuses to provide a project timeline. But he confirms it would be turned on by Chrome OS’s Linux support. The Steam client runs inside Linux on Chrome. It a platform for which it is available. Liu indirectly confirms that Google was working in direct collaboration with Valve on this project. The goal of Valve is the first major gaming storefront on a platform that can’t be supported by a mainstream computer or console launches. Valve also looks like a good fit, as the enterprise has no specific loyalty to any one platform. Also, it is continuously facing competition from players such as Microsoft and Epic on its most famous OS, Windows.
Recently, it is possible you can install the Steam Linux client on Chrome OS using the compatibility of the Crostini Linux layer. But officially there’s no support, and performance becomes quite awful when comparing similar Linux-native systems to Chrome.
Steam on Chromebook – What’s More?
Another question, of course, is just what types of games would even be worth playing on a Chromebook while running directly on local hardware. Well, some Chromebooks have extremely restricted 3D acceleration performance, using the current devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook possessing roughly passable GPUs. Liu said we expect that to modify: AMD Chromebooks, are coming. He would not directly confirm that any of these versions would contain discrete Radeon graphics but told us to stay tuned.
Using the local storage on Chromebooks growing with the generation, and become more powerful Chromebooks being launched with each year. I think it’s good to say that we’re coming to a point where at least minimum visually-intensive computer titles (or just older games) could possibly play on Chrome OS. Liu says that gaming is the single most famous category of downloads for Play Store on Chromebooks. So it becomes logically follow that including support for Steam on Chrome could be quite attractive to the audience that already playing games on the platform. Also, it would mean practical restrictions on the available titles.
GPUs On Chromebook:
As we expect Nvidia (or Qualcomm) GPUs on Chromebooks. Liu can’t move, saying only that Chrome had nothing to announce at this time. In addition, details on how Google would overcome obstacles that probably come up regarding performance and support for games inside Crostini were not provided. Also, it’s unclear how much work, if any, Google has to undertake using individual game developers to make sure that compatibility and certain difficult performance optimizations. Liu looks confident, however, that the project was practical, especially provided the increasingly cross-platform nature of games and the middleware turning on them (like Vulkan).
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