Steam for Chromebooks might finally be coming soon
Chromebooks are great for working and are typically affordable, lightweight, and have good battery life. Chrome OS has just enough functionality for most people but when it comes to gaming, they falter. Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and even if you have one of the best Chromebooks, you still won’t really be able to play any games. There are certainly workarounds to run Steam on your Chromebook right now if you really want to, but it’s not as good as native support. That might finally be set to change.
According to a merged commit made to the Chromium Gerrit (spotted by Android Police), native Steam for Chrome OS could arrive as soon as this month. Steam support for Chrome OS has been codenamed “Borealis”, and while we’ve known that Valve has wanted to launch Steam on Chrome OS since early last year, we haven’t heard a huge amount more since then. Now Android Police says that flags have been added to what will be Chrome OS 98 — and that should arrive as a Canary build any day now.
Steam on Chrome OS would reportedly be enabled by Chrome OS’ Linux compatibility. It’s possible to run the Steam Linux client on Chrome OS using Crostini, but official support would provide users with a much-improved experience. It appears that Google is dedicated to providing a good gaming experience on Chrome OS, as the company has more recently has been spotted preparing a new “Game Mode” for the platform too.
Android Police also spotted a commit that suggests that there will be a game compatibility reporting system with Proton. Proton is a compatibility layer (spearheaded by Valve) that allows Windows-based games to run on Linux-based operating systems. It’s based on Wine and integrates into the Steam client on Linux-based machines.
Either way, this is a much better way to play games on your Chromebook than the solutions currently available. The most viable that Chromebook gaming has been was when GeForce NOW with Steam Sync support came to the platform late last year, and even that requires a stable and fast internet connection — not to mention a subscription.