Chromebooks aren’t the first products that come to mind when it comes to gaming laptops, but that could be changing. During a discussion with Kan Liu (Chrome OS’s Director of Product Management) at CES, Android Police was told that Google was working on bringing Steam to Chromebooks. That’s interesting news for a product typically reserved for web browsing and office apps.
Steam’s Chrome OS client will presumably be based on the Linux variant, which originally debuted in 2013. While Liu wouldn’t confirm whether or not Valve was directly involved, the company has plenty of reasons to cooperate. Steam being Chrome OS’s first major gaming platform would be a pretty big deal, for instance.
But what about the performance problem? Chromebooks are pretty weak machines, especially in the graphics department, but Liu confirmed that more powerful models were coming. He gave the impression that Chromebooks could be getting discrete graphics from AMD, NVIDIA, or Qualcomm, but nothing is confirmed thus far (the former has new models planned, so the inclusion of Radeon graphics seems perfectly plausible).
Steam’s Linux client can currently be installed on Chrome OS via Crostini (a container that allows most Linux apps to be installed on Chrome OS), but official support from Google should improve things dramatically. There’s still plenty of unknowns, however, such as the potential need for game developers to get involved for compatibility.