Chrome OS may one day be able to play with Steam. In an interview with Android police, a Chrome OS product leader said that Google is working to allow Chromebooks to run Valve’s gaming platform, apparently with the help of Valve. No timeline was provided for the arrival of support.
It is an intriguing but strange announcement. Google has focused on expanding Chrome OS features in recent years by allowing it to run native apps from Android, so that it doesn’t depend entirely on the web. The addition of Steam would push it even further, opening up Chromebooks to hundreds of games. which offer support for Linux, on which Chrome OS is based.
But Chromebooks are typically low-power devices, designed to run a web browser and not much else. It’s hard to imagine that games would work well on most currently available Chromebooks, although Steam offers a large selection of smaller independent titles that are less graphically demanding. However, Steam support will likely only be useful for higher-end devices right now.
Kan Liu, the Chrome OS product director he spoke to Android Policand, he said more powerful Chromebooks are coming, especially those that will present AMD processors.
Although its usefulness is limited, it still translates to more things you can do on Chrome OS, and it’s not a bad thing at all. Like Android police he points out, random titles and older games may work well on some machines. (Steam also supports games streamed from other computers. It is possible that we focus here too, although the conversation seems to be about native gameplay.)
At the same time, it’s a bit surprising to see Google prioritize native games on Chrome OS – its cloud-centered operating system – when Google is also developing Stadia, a game streaming service that doesn’t require powerful local hardware. Stadia still has a large number of limitations (a small library of games between them), so the two offers do not necessarily have to meet the exact same needs.