Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google Chrome OS, revealed at the recent CES 2020 that Chrome OS developers are working on implementing the Valve platform for Chrome OS devices. Unfortunately, Liu did not reveal when Google’s Steam would see the light of day. We have also not received direct confirmation that Google is working with Valve on this project.
We know that the work is not particularly demanding, because both Chrome OS and Android are based on the Linux kernel. Steam for Chrome OS will run inside a Linux environment provided by Google. This makes the transfer of the gaming platform to ChromeBooks not as big a challenge as it might seem, because it will be based on the Linux version of the application.
What games will we be able to play on ChromeBooks? Unfortunately, the list may be narrow due to several limitations. The first is the computing power of Chrome OS devices. Most of them do not have particularly efficient graphics systems and it will be difficult to play some more demanding productions. The second thing is the system itself. The support in Linux will most likely allow you to support all games that are available on the Steam platform for Linux family systems. The number of games available for Linux is not small, but we can say goodbye to a huge part of the games that have remained faithful only to Windows and macOS …
Unless … Proton, Lutris and Wine will also come into play – programs that allow you to run games and applications written for Windows on Linux. Linux users praise these solutions very much, because they allow you to run most of the potentially inaccessible games without any problems. In addition, games running through these 3 programs do not differ in graphics or a significant number of frames. Differences in frames are sometimes noticeable, but in most cases they are unnoticeable and, interestingly, not always better for Windows – there are cases where the same game launched on Linux through one of the 3 programs works slightly better than on Windows .
If the aforementioned software actually keeps Steam on Chrome OS company, it may be Google’s ace up its sleeve, which will attract a larger group of interested parties to its system. More serious support for games may be something missing for a group of people for whom Chrome OS will be a great solution. I am talking about people who do not use the potential and possibilities of Windows, and in turn are afraid of Linux itself. The capabilities of a simple Chrome OS enhanced with a serious library of games may finally strengthen the market share of Chrome OS.