Google confirmed last week that an alpha version of Steam would be coming to Chrome OS on select Chromebooks soon. This means that we will have a way to play Steam games natively on Chromebooks. When do you think there will be nearly 30 million Chromebooks in the world by the end of 2022, knowing that at least some of them could play Steam games is quite interesting.
“As you may have heard, our team is working with Valve to bring Steam to Chrome OS,” reads a small post on the official website. Chromebook Help Forum (by 9to5google). “We are very excited to share that we will be releasing an alpha quality early version of Steam on Chrome OS on the Dev channel for a small set of Chromebooks soon. Check back in the forum for more information!”
We know that Google is working on a way to bring native Steam support to Chrome OS for a a few years now but I haven’t heard or seen anything in terms of results so far. This news also comes after Google announced that Chrome OS will get a new gaming overlay (along with keyboard and mouse support) in some Android games, which shows that Google is taking Chromebook gaming a little more seriously. than in the past.
Like Valve’s SteamOS, Chrome OS is based on Linux, so it’s not hard to guess how we got here: Valve has recently put a lot of work into Steam Proton, the open source compatibility layer that allows Steam games to run on SteamOS, particularly in steam deck.
The Steam Deck was designed to play, however. Chromebooks, not so much – they’re largely intended for web browsing and word processing – but the emergence of powerful Chromebooks with x86 and integrated graphics has made native gaming on a Chrome device more appealing. Reportedly, there’s even a Chromebook coming out with a Discrete AMD GPU that will allow you to play games that are a little more demanding than those found on the Google Play Store.
Right now, the only way to play games on your Chromebook is through apps from the Google Play Store or using cloud gaming services like Geforce now or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which can turn your Chromebook into a little ray tracing beast at the expense of compression and streaming latency.