I have been a Steam gamer for about as long as I can remember and ever since I got my hands on my first Chromebook (the 3G HP Chromebook 14), I’ve longed for a simple way to play games like Day of Defeat on Chrome OS. Thank goodness for Crouton. It was hacky, for sure but it made my Chromebook a viable platform for some of the less-intensive games found available from Valve Corp. With the release of the Crostini project that brought official Linux container support to Chrome OS, my hopes were high that I would soon be able to have a legit gaming experience on my Chromebook without all of the tinkerings. Sadly, we just aren’t there yet.
Yes, you can install Steam on a Crostini-enable Chrome device but the process is annoying at best. Sometimes, the install fails. Other times, it works and games simply will not load. Then there’s the issue of the pointer lock that is still buried behind a flag. Unless you’re willing to go the experimental route, Steam games are simply not ready for prime time on Chrome OS but that may very soon change.
According to Android Police’s Managing Editor David Ruddock, a candid conversation at CES could point to a collaboration between Google and Valve to bring official Steam support to Chrome OS. During the broad chat, Chrome OS Director of Product Management Kan Liu told Ruddock that the Chrome OS team was actively pursuing official support for Steam on Chromebooks. From that point, Liu danced around the subject without giving any more “official” information on the project. However, he did make it a point to mention more-powerful Chromebooks were on the way that would be able to lend better GPU horsepower to gaming.
All of this will reportedly run via the Linux container and since we know it’s already possible to do so, the possibility of Valve actually getting behind the project is very promising. Currently, you can install Steam using the standard Debian package but I would guess that a Chrome OS-specific build could eventually be made available as a one-click install directly from the Steam Powered website. Some have already pointed out that this could meant the death of Stadia but I hardly think that will be the case. Apples and oranges, honestly. With over 14 million users, there are tons of Steam gamers that will remain faithful to the platform and there of those that will opt to use Stadia, or both. This is simply another way for Chromebooks to offer more options to the masses and frankly, I’m excited to see it happen.
We’ll keep our ear to the ground for any official word on this as it unfolds. As David points out, it could be years before this is a reality. However, if Google and Valve are serious about the project, it may be here sooner than you think.
Source: Android Police