Google is working to bring Valve's Steam to Chromebooks

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Valve’s popular Steam digital distribution platform is coming to Chromebooks.

As part of a wide-ranging interview during CES, Kan Liu, director of product management for Google's Chrome OS, told Android Police that the Chrome team is working to bring Steam to Chromebooks. Liu stopped short of providing a timeline for the project but did confirm that it would be enabled by Chrome OS’s Linux compatibility.

The executive reportedly implied, but didn’t directly confirm, that Google was working in tandem with Valve on the effort.

Such a partnership seems like it could be a good fit. Valve is reportedly motivated by the fact that Steam could be the first official gaming storefront on the platform. Steam is also facing increased competition from companies like Microsoft and Epic on Windows meaning now might be the right time to explore other avenues.

Liu told Android Police that gaming is the single most popular category of downloads on the Play Store for Chromebook users.

Masthead credit: Steam by Casimiro PT. Chromebook by loocmill.

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Vrmithrax

TechSpot Paladin
This could be a good thing for casual gaming.
I totally agree. And with the newer fun little indie games out there, as well as the massive back catalog of older games on Steam, there would be no shortage of content available for this type of platform.
 
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PEnnn

TS Maniac
A bit odd. Chromebooks aren't exactly the most powerful machines in the world, are they?
Nope, they're not. Very basic machines with super cheap Celeron chips and ludicrous video power.

Heck, they can't even play the most widely used video formats!
Yeah, I have one for web surfing, anything more demanding will bring it to its crippled knees.
 
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Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
Great news! Chromebooks in the 11.6 and 13.3" form factors are built way better for the money then windows machines are. They tend to be made in a more functional form, whereas windows machines are either so cheap they are worth less then toilet paper, or cost an arm and a leg (looking at you razer). For mobile gaming, an 11.6" chromebook is the perfect size for some civ v, FTL, and XCOM.
A bit odd. Chromebooks aren't exactly the most powerful machines in the world, are they?
Most are not powerful. There are some exceptions, like the acer C771, which has a 7.5W core i5, or the pixelbooks. Of course, there has been no demand either, since there was no way to run demanding apps on chromebooks.

This could lead to some chromebooks using the new ryzen 4800u or tiger lake CPUs, which would be awesome for those of us looking for pint sized machines with enough power to game on the go without breaking the bank and great battery life to boot.

There are also a lot of older, indie, and casual games that dont need much power to be playable, especially at the 768p many chromebooks use.
 
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Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
Most are not powerful. There are some exceptions, like the acer C771, which has a 7.5W core i5, or the pixelbooks. Of course, there has been no demand either, since there was no way to run demanding apps on chromebooks.

This could lead to some chromebooks using the new ryzen 4800u or tiger lake CPUs, which would be awesome for those of us looking for pint sized machines with enough power to game on the go without breaking the bank and great battery life to boot.

There are also a lot of older, indie, and casual games that dont need much power to be playable, especially at the 768p many chromebooks use.
That's a good point, actually. Some people may be interested in some low-end PC gaming, but with a Chromebook, they've never really had an opportunity to try that out. By adding this feature, perhaps companies (and consumers) will be more inclined to produce (and purchase) Chromebooks with slightly better specs. I know there are a few, but the vast majority are still very clearly designed for teachers/students/etc.

One possible concern is storage space. Despite covering Chromebooks for TS from time to time, I'm not aware of many that have exceptionally large drives. I suppose if you're going to be running older games anyway, storage capacity might be a non-issue, since they tend to be smaller in size.
 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
Chromebooks didn't need to be powerful. But with the addition of Steam, there will now be an incentive to outfit them with more powerful hardware. You can also dual-boot Linux on them.
 

roberthi

TS Addict
Funny, as I just tried to login to comment here, the Chrome browser ironically wouldn't let me log in to comment. So Firefox to the rescue. Anyway...Chromebooks with no storage space won't help you play anything on Steam.
 

ZedRM

TS Booster
Funny, as I just tried to login to comment here, the Chrome browser ironically wouldn't let me log in to comment. So Firefox to the rescue. Anyway...Chromebooks with no storage space won't help you play anything on Steam.
You have heard of MicroSD cards, yes? Steam doesn't care where you store the games. And with 128GB cards being dead cheap, not really a difficult venture.