Wednesday, May 25

Steam games on Chromebook could finally be happening – yes, really!

I love a Chromebook. Most of the time they are superbly cheap and cheerful laptops that have everything you need to get a lot of daily work done, and rarely cause issues with bugs, glitches, or glitches … But unless you like cloud streaming or playing simple Android games, Chromebooks suck for games.

But that could change depending on Android Police, Chrome OS could be compatible with Valve’s Steam gaming platform. Yes, Steam games on a Chromebook really could be a thing.

We have already heard that the The Google Chrome team was working to bring Steam to Chrome OS. Now it appears that it has progressed, possibly with the help of Valve.

This is because Android Police found system flags to use in the upcoming Chrome OS 98.0.4736.0 detailing Borealis, the reported codename for integrating Steam into Chromebooks. While this version of Chrome OS is expected to be a ‘Canary’ beta to try rather than a full version, Chromebooks will likely be able to run Steam in the near future.

But “what is the point?” you may well ask. After all, Chromebooks aren’t equipped to be gaming laptops. These are generally machines that rely on a lightweight operating system and Internet connectivity to get things done; They do not contain powerful processors, except in rare exceptions, such as the Google Pixelbook Go, which can be configured with an Intel Core i7 laptop CPU.

However, I think there is a reason to be interested here. Thanks to advancements in integrated graphics, notebook chips like the Intel Tiger Lake The processors have built-in GPUs that are powerful enough to run games, albeit at reduced settings and with significant limitations on which games will run.

The same could happen with Chromebooks that have Core i5 chips and 8GB of RAM, such as the Chromebook Samsung Galaxy, our choice for one of the best Chromebooks. I managed to get Steam games to run on Windows laptops with similar specs, as long as they are not graphically demanding titles.

So while Chromebooks won’t suddenly become gaming laptops overnight, Steam’s support on Chrome OS could turn them into solid native platforms for playing old but classic games, or a full suite of indie games that they often don’t require a lot of graphics. grunt or processor power.

A promo photo of Valve Steam Decks running Stardew Valley, a game that would also be pretty cool to play on a Chromebook. (Image credit: Valve)

Likewise, if you take a look at the upcoming Valve Steam Deck, their goal is to deliver Steam-based games on a portable basis, thanks to Valve’s work with processor and graphics maker AMD. So I don’t see any reason why Google and other Chromebook makers couldn’t take some of this technology and add it to Chrome OS machines. Combined with Steam support, you could be looking towards a future where Chromebooks really do provide decent gaming experiences.

I would very much like the idea of ​​taking out a Chromebook on a train trip and giving a spin to semi-modern classic games like Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Company of Heroes or Rome: Total War. And the scope of indie games could be huge, with stellar titles like Limbo, Bastion, Braid, Gunpoint, and more, all fairly easy to play but offering surprisingly deep gameplay mechanics.

Chromebooks already support game streaming via Google Stadia and other cloud-based services, of course. But in the UK, where internet connections can be poor, especially in my apartment lately, being able to play games natively and away from a Wi-Fi connection is still very attractive.

Of course, the Steam Deck promises to offer such gaming opportunities with even more power. But the price starts at $ 399 and goes up to $ 649, while Chromebooks can be had for less than $ 200.

In a world where devices seem to be getting more and more expensive and elusive, it is gratifying to get the impression that the most affordable devices are not being neglected when it comes to functionality. And I, for one, can’t wait to get a taste of Steam on an old but still appreciated Chromebook.

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