Steam On Chromebooks May Be Very Real One Day

A Chrome OS project manager confirmed the project — and there may be more powerful Chromebooks coming out down the line.

Did you really think your kid or cousin’s Chromebook would be safe from video games for long? Forget Cool Math Games or YouTube marathons of gaming videos. Now, there’s a chance kids will be able to play Steam on Chrome OS, aka Chromebooks’ operating system, if the product development team gets their way. According to Android Police at CES 2020, an upper in charge of Chrome OS claimed the team is working on getting Steam onto Chromebooks.

First off: okay, fine, Chromebooks have more appeal than just being an easy laptop to hand to kids. They’re touted as light and easy-to-manage laptops with little to no bloat. It’s an easy claim given literally the only thing the system officially runs is an OS version of the Google Chrome browser. You’re asked to log into a Google account, and you just… browse chrome.

That said, Chromebooks carry pretty light, nearly no, processing power. That’s because, again, they literally only run Google Chrome. No Photoshop, no Office, not even Notepad. So how would Steam run on what’s essentially the laptop equivalent of a potato?

Kan Liu, the Director of Product Management for Chrome OS, stated that there are more powerful Chromebooks on the way. No specifics for now! But it’s an interesting turn of strategy for what’s considered a “lite” laptop. At the very least, one goal is to get older, or just less intensive games, onto the laptop.

Are you a more technical geek wondering how exactly they plan on running the whole Steam client on Chromebook? The answer is, according to Liu, Steam would theoretically run through Chrome OS’s Linux compatibility.

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It’s also worth noting that Liu wouldn’t confirm whether Valve was working directly with Google. Chances are, though, that as Valve does for many of its side projects, Valve pushes along progress from the sidelines.

It’s both surprising and not that the Chrome OS team isn’t instead leaning into Steam’s Remote Play option and doubling up by enabling a Chrome OS storefront or… something. Though to be fair, once Steam gets set up on Chrome OS, you can enable Remote Play Together from there.

And in fact, Chrome is actually already perfectly capable of “remote streaming” for gaming already. Through Chrome Remote Desktop, you can access not just Chrome, but also your entire desktop on the go, either through Chrome or a phone app. No joke, I’ve used this in the past to play Hearthstone and Eve Online.

Still, the point is more so that Chrome OS is trying to make itself appealing to a wider audience than schools and broke grad students. After all, technically, Valve would be the first genuine gaming platform to run on Chrome OS. Would you try to play your favorite games, or some older backlog titles, on a Chromebook?

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Victoria Rose

Victoria is a Brooklyn-based, chaotic-good former dungeon master and a Contributor-At-Large for Fanbyte. She's a self-proclaimed esports pundit, and used to do Dota 2 news and reporting as a full-time part-time gig. She's also four red pandas stacked in a hoodie. [she/her/hers or they/their/theirs]

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