Google Is Planning to Bring Steam To…Chromebooks

Posted on January 17, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Games, Google, Chromebook, Chrome OS with 6 Comments

Google is reportedly planning to bring Steam to Chromebooks. Google’s Director of Product Management for Chrome OS, Kan Liu, had a discussion with David Ruddock from Android Police at CES, where Liu apparently revealed that the company is actually working to bring Steam to Chromebooks.

Yes, Steam running on Chromebooks sounds very wild but it could actually happen — definitely not now, but maybe sometime down the line.

You see, Steam is already available on Linux, and Linux works pretty well on Chrome OS already. And if Google and its OEM partners start launching more powerful hardware in the future, it’s very much possible to see Steam running on Chromebooks. Liu confirmed that we could start seeing more powerful Chromebooks soon, with new AMD Chromebooks that will bring more power to Chromebooks than before. It is not clear if any of these devices will be powered by discrete Radeon graphics from AMD, however, and Liu wouldn’t say if we could expect Nvidia or Qualcomm GPUs on Chromebooks anytime soon.

There is a lot of other questions about Steam running on Chromebooks — whether you’d be able to run most games, whether the game developers have to modify the games to add better support for Chromebooks, etc. Right now, it’s very much unclear how all of this will work, or when exactly it will be available. Android Police notes that the company “was twice given advance notice of this story and did not comment prior to publication”, suggesting that Google is trying to keep this under the covers for now.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Google Is Planning to Bring Steam To…Chromebooks”

  1. waethorn

    Linux on Chrome OS doesn't even have video acceleration support through the VM yet and audio was only just recently added. It's not out of beta, nor does it have a proper repo or app store setup. And that's just x86. ARM GPU support in Linux-proper is pretty much non-existent. ARM Chromebooks don't have Crostini either, nor would Steam work since all the games on Steam are built for x86. You can consider this just conjecture and speculation at this point. Chrome OS has to grow its client base beyond budget school laptops before any project like this is worthwhile for the company, otherwise the project's life will be cut short by the Google beancounters.

  2. tripleplayed

    Are there even any chromebooks out there with decent GPUs? I guess if you wanted to play like a 10 year old game then maybe that could work?

  3. codymesh

    So how long until Google just admits that Chrome OS should just be more like a regular Linux distro?

  4. Dan1986ist

    The question I have is this: out of all the games available through Steam how many would run well on Chromebooks? If this planning ends up happening?

  5. eric_rasmussen

    Using Steam's Proton layer, I can run a lot of Windows-only games just fine in Linux without having to configure anything. I mostly play Path of Exile and it runs pretty well on Ubuntu and Steam. There are some games that simply don't work at all on Linux due to their copy protection code or dependence on obscure Windows-only libraries, but these types of games are becoming less and less common.

    With all the problems surrounding Windows 10, I've been wondering how long it would take Google to attack the desktop PC market with Chrome OS. Quick access to Google Docs, lots of apps available in the Chrome and Google Play stores, support for Linux desktop apps, and now access to Steam games? The only things I need to replace my desktop PC at home are:

    • Steam
    • Visual Studio Code
    • Chrome browser
    • Command-line terminal app
    • ssh to remote servers
    • .NET Core compilers and framework
    • A video editor

    With the exception of Steam, all of this is available today on Chrome OS. I use Adobe Premiere Clip on Android, and since ChromeOS supports Android apps this would likely be my video editor of choice. Being able to run Linux apps and Android apps makes a LOT of software available, so outside of games there's not much that I would need that isn't already available.

  6. Stooks

    Steam on Linux has been a failure basically. This from their own hardware survey. MacOS is more popular.

    Chrome OS is a joke. The good news, less than half of 1% of users ever went there.