Speaking to Android Police last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Chrome OS Director of Project Management Kan Liu revealed that Valve’s Steam platform could be coming to Chromebooks and other devices in the near future. While some have unofficially hacked the Linux port of Steam onto Chrome OS devices in the past, performance has been all over the place. The lost cost of most Chrome OS devices lead to computers not up to snuff when it comes to traditional gaming, but that could also be changing if Chrome OS Steam becomes a reality.
Chrome OS is Google’s browser-based operating system that focuses on Internet applications and cloud storage. Traditionally, everything that runs on a Chromebook lives inside a web browser, but those rules have been loosening over the last few years. From expanding into Linux and Android apps to native video players, Google could be looking to add video games to its netbook arsenal.
Or, perhaps it’s looking to sell Chromebooks to a new market. After all, with the premiere of Stadia, Google hopes it can attract gamers of all sorts to its ecosystem. Why not try to port over players’ Steam libraries to their cheap laptops if they can? While it’d be hard to see a hardcore Steam user accepting a Chromebook as their main rig, a supplemental computer that can run indie games could be an interesting proposition to some players.
Are Valve and Google forming a partnership?
Kan Liu was hush-hush on many of the specifics of the work being done, but he did heavily imply that Valve was also involved in the project. A partnership with Valve could give Google an edge in all spheres of gaming and provide a path to bolstering their Stadia service with a much-needed library boost. In addition, Valve could gain a foothold in another market just as Epic works at chipping away its Windows dominance. A theoretical Chrome OS Steam client could be a boost to both, but we’ll just have to wait and see if it becomes a reality.