For the longest time, Chrome OS has been the go-to choice for consumers looking for laptops to surf the web and use web-based applications and services. But according to a new report by Android Police, Google is working on bringing Steam to Chromebooks. If this does turn out to be true, Chromebooks might open themselves to a completely new yet growing market.
The information was provided by Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google Chrome OS at an interview during CES. Unfortunately, Liu didn’t provide any timeline for the project. But he did confirm that Steam would be enabled by Chrome OS’s Linux compatibility. The Steam client is already available for Linux, amongst other platforms. Liu even implied that the company is working in direct cooperation with Valve on the project.
If this does come out of the pipeline, it’ll be the first major gaming store on the platform. But the possibility of Steam coming to Chromebooks brings up a very important question. How will a category of laptops that are known to have meager hardware be an avenue to play Steam games? Well, Chromebooks today are much more powerful than the ones we’ve seen in the past. Chromebooks like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and the Pixelbook Go are leading examples.
Liu also revealed that we could expect Chromebooks to get more powerful in the coming future, especially AMD Chromebooks. Although, he didn’t comment when asked if they would ship with discrete Radeon graphics.
Coming to the why, Liu said that gaming is the single most popular category of downloads for Play Store content on Chromebooks. This is what led the team to consider adding Steam support for users who were already gaming on Chromebooks.
Interestingly, this move is in stark contrast with what Google’s doing with Stadia. Currently, Stadia subscribers can play desktop-grade games on their frugal Chromebooks with the help of the gaming streaming service. It’ll be interesting to see if the Stream project comes through for Chrome OS and how Chromebook hardware evolves with respect to it.