Google is reportedly working on bringing official Steam support to Chrome OS. The Chrome team is said to be working to bring Steam support to Chromebooks. The result could mean that Google’s Chrome OS would become a potent gaming platform. There is, however, no timeline on when Steam will debut on Chrome OS, Google’s desktop operating system. It is also not confirmed whether the company is working with Valve, the company behind Steam, for this official support.
Chrome OS wants to be gaming platform with Steam
Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google’s Chrome OS, confirmed the development to Android Police. Liu confirmed that Steam would be enabled by Chrome OS’s Linux compatibility. The Steam client is already available for Linux and might run inside Linux on Chrome. If Steam arrives for Chrome OS then Valve will become the first major gaming storefront on the platform. It will also shun the criticism around Chrome OS not being compatible with mainstream PC or console releases.
Android Police further notes that you can already install Steam Linux client on Chrome OS using the Crostini Linux compatibility layer. However, the performance of this client is not comparable to identical Linux-native systems. With Valve, Google might have a partner not devoted to any single platform. It might also deliver a big blow to Epic and Microsoft, which seemed focused on Windows as a desktop platform. The real question that needs answer is what kind of games will Steam bring to the platformG.
Google’s desktop operating system is not particularly known for its gaming-centric hardware. As David Ruddock notes “most Chromebooks have extremely limited 3D acceleration performance”. Samsung Galaxy Chromebook seems to have a decent GPU. Liu told the publication that Steam support will change that situation. It will result in launch of more powerful Chromebooks, especially those powered by AMD. We could see discrete Radeon graphics making its way to Chromebook this year but Liu did not confirm that possibility.
Google is a distant player in the gaming world but its ambitions have already become clear. Wit the help of edge computing, Google wants to push Stadia and cloud gaming on mobile devices. With Steam, it could build a cross-play across its hardware and software platforms. Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebooks promised wireless, cloud-based computing for the masses. However, it has been relegated to education market. This could change the prospects of Google’s OS and offer an opportunity for it to compete with big boys in desktop gaming.