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Report: Google wants to bring the Steam game store to… Chrome OS?

Pictured: a hotrod gaming device.
Enlarge / Pictured: a hotrod gaming system.
Valentina Palladino / Ron Amadeo

Now we have a wild report from Android Police this morning, as the location claims that Google is working to carry official Steam help to Chrome OS. Sure, Valve’s Steam. The gaming platform. On Chromebooks.

The story apparently comes from a direct supply: Kan Liu, the director of product administration for Chrome OS. Throughout an interview with Liu at CES, the location says Liu “implied, although wouldn’t instantly affirm, that Google was working in direct cooperation with Valve on this mission.” The thought is that, in accordance the Liu, “gaming is the one hottest class of downloads for Play Retailer content material on Chromebooks,” and Steam would imply much more video games.

Anybody can put Steam on Chrome OS now. Chrome OS helps Linux apps. Steam has a Linux consumer and sells Linux video games. You possibly can set up Steam and use it as a Chrome OS recreation retailer proper now. You would not get all the Home windows assortment of Steam video games, however there’s a modest-and-growing assortment of video games that help Linux. Nobody does this as a result of Chromebooks will not be gaming {hardware}. They often have simply sufficient GPU energy to run YouTube, scroll a webpage, and that is about it—3D graphics will not be actually going to occur. To make issues worse, Chrome OS’ {hardware} acceleration for the Linux sandbox is definitely fairly unhealthy, and practically an identical {hardware} can run video games at the next FPS utilizing Home windows or an actual distribution of Linux.

There’s additionally the problem that Google already has a gaming-focused resolution for Chromebooks: the Stadia game-streaming platform. Stadia offloads recreation rendering to the cloud and solely streams a stay video to your Chromebook, so it would not require hot-and-heavy gaming {hardware}. It is an ideal resolution for a lightweight, restricted Chromebook. A push for Steam on Chromebooks would muddy Google’s Chrome OS gaming technique. Muddying its personal methods with competing merchandise is one thing Google is absolutely good at, although.

So will some producer step up and make a gaming-focused Chromebook? Android Police writes that “Liu stated we may count on [Chrome OS’ lack of powerful hardware] to alter: extra highly effective Chromebooks, particularly AMD Chromebooks, are coming. Liu wouldn’t explicitly affirm that any of those fashions would include discrete Radeon graphics however informed us to remain tuned.”

Chromebook {hardware} has gotten actually bloated over time and might appear fairly removed from the unique thought of a lightweight, quick Net-focused laptop computer. At present, you will get Chromebooks with 1TB of storage for, I assume, a complete lot of Linux and Android apps. A gaming Chromebook could be a thicker, hotter, heavier, dearer laptop computer, and I ponder if anybody desires a Chromebook like that. (If they begin outfitting Chromebooks with gamer RGB lights, let the report present that the Chromebook Pixel was a trailblazer with its gentle bar.)

Valve would in all probability welcome Chrome OS as an official Steam platform with open arms. Steam is extra highly effective the extra platforms it’s on, and Valve has been working to scale back its reliance on Home windows for a while, with tasks just like the Linux distribution SteamOS. The arrival of Vulkan as a number one graphics API various to the Microsoft-built DirectX can be enabling high-end video games on non-Home windows platforms.

A push for Steam compatibility could be yet one more app retailer Google is bolting onto the once-simple Chrome OS. It was a lightweight and easy Net OS. Then Google added Android and the Play Retailer in 2017. In 2018, it added help for Linux packages. If Steam will get added, that is three main platforms, plus Chrome’s extensions and Net apps, which can be obtainable on the OS.

About Ron Amadeo

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