They’re not exactly famed for their performance prowess but Chromebooks are allegedly going to be getting native Steam support shortly.
Chromebooks are lower power devices sporting Chrome OS and are typically nothing more than a vehicle for running Google’s browser-based OS as quickly and as cheaply as possible. The vast majority of Chromebooks don’t have graphics chips whatsoever and would be totally incapable of even running most games.
Clearly Google sees a different vision for Chromebooks than what we see today though, with Google’s director of product management for Chrome OS, Kan Liu, speaking to Android Police to tell them that official Steam support on Chromebooks is a feature which will be coming in the future.
Liu implied Google was working with Valve to implement this feature, and it probably all ties into Valve’s renewed push into Linux gaming support. Chrome OS is already a Linux kernal-based operating system and so the building blocks are likely already there. There are methods to already achieve this feat and therefore install the Steam launcher, but without default software-level support the hardware is going to be found wanting.
In terms of what games a typical Chromebook could even play, they would have to be reserved for some of Steam’s retro game library. Modern games would be an absolute no no, at least for now, although Liu also said that AMD-powered Chromebooks with gaming capabilities could also be on the way. Again, we’re not expecting high-end devices here, those buying dedicated gaming laptops would surely go for a Windows OS, but some of the light eSports titles should be very doable.
What do you think then, can you even see an audience for Steam gaming on a Chromebook? Once someone’s paying out a premium for a gaming Chromebook, would this be money better spent on a Windows laptop? Share your thoughts below!