If you’ve dreamed of a gaming Chromebook, these devices may simply be a step closer with the information that Google has announced Steam support is sooner or later arriving for Chrome OS.
The caveat here, though, is that the initial incarnation of Steam on Chrome OS is simply in checking out – and alpha stage trying out at that – plus it will only be reachable on a small number of Chromebooks.
The Verge spotted this and points out there was once some confusion as Google’s preliminary revelation at its Games Developer Summit made it seem like Steam had already arrived for Chromebooks, when in fact it’s the case that it’ll kick-off soon alternatively than right now (in alpha testing, as noted).
Google wrote: “As you may have already heard, our team is working with Valve to bring Steam to Chrome OS. We are very excited to share that we’ll be landing an early, alpha-quality version of Steam on Chrome OS in the Dev channel for a small set of Chromebooks coming soon.”
Google will facilitate this happening by running Steam in a Linux container on Chrome OS (presumably leveraging the Proton compatibility layer to ensure Windows games can be played).
Analysis: Lots of polishing nonetheless required, perhaps?
All in all, this used to be a surprisingly low-key announcement from Google, however, that’s likely partly a reflection of the alpha nation of this preliminary implementation of Steam on Chrome OS, and how it may additionally be pretty flaky.
That’s the main fear here, really – simply how buggy would possibly this first crack at an alpha be? In short, we should nonetheless have a suitable deal of road to travel before the full release of Steam for Chromebooks, and that would be no huge shock given the history of this project.
Remember that Google first began talking about bringing Steam to Chrome OS two years ago, and no longer than an awful lot has happened, at least now not visibly, due to the fact that then. That said, we have seen tips of progress, like when in January 2022 adjustments to Chrome OS have been uncovered which enabled RGB keyboard support, and quite a few codenames of purported gaming Chromebooks had been spotted.
Naturally, you will need a decently powerful Chromebook to be able to game on (beyond informal titles, anyway), and obviously, the more cost-effective end of the market for Google’s laptops won’t be up to scratch in that respect.
As noted, solely a ‘small set’ of Chrome OS-toting devices will be in a position to run Steam with this preliminary testing, however, in reality, the quantity of Google-powered laptops that’ll be right for proper gaming will of course be incredibly limited. As mentioned, though, we can hopefully assume Chromebooks are surely designed for gaming before too long, so watch this space.