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Steam reportedly coming to Chrome OS - Linux gaming across even more devices

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Android Police have an article up mentioning that Google is reportedly working on getting Steam working officially and supported on Chrome OS. While the details of this are a little sketchy, since neither Valve or Google have announced this, Android Police claim they spoke directly to Kan Liu at CES, the Director of Product Management for Google's Chrome OS who told them of their plans to make it happen.

Note: You can get Steam working on it in some form with some manual effort now, although it's not great. This seems to be about making it all official. Having it properly integrated, enabling ease of use would be good, part of what Chrome OS is supposed to be about—being simple and easy.

Weird though, typical Google perhaps with plans that don't quite fit into what they're doing elsewhere. Since Google are pushing their own gaming service with Stadia, you wouldn't expect them to do this. Gaming is a massive and powerful market though, giving a big boost to Chrome OS and Chromebooks with advertising that it works with Steam could definitely make some waves.

Chromebooks have historically been quite low-powered devices, for the most part anyway. However, that has been changing and they're continuing to get beefier devices with more storage (which would be important for this) out across different manufacturers. With more powerful AMD-based Chromebooks apparently planned, it might actually make a little sense given they would actually be able to run some of the games on Steam for Linux.

Another reason why developers may want to ensure their games work on Linux to then gain Chrome OS compatibility too? Sure, sounds good. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though, this type of project could be a long time away if it ever happens. Who knows, could be one of the reasons or just a possible use case for Valve's Gamescope.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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42 comments
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Linas 17 January 2020 at 4:46 pm UTC
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KohlyKohlThe biggest reason that Chrome OS is so popular is the US is because they replaced iPads in schools.
I'd be all for that happening. Here Apple has quite a grip on schools. And the worst thing is that the iPads are not even used that much for school work. And kids break them all the time.
Drakker 17 January 2020 at 4:56 pm UTC
The bigger question is, will Steam support ARM processors? A lot of low en Chromebooks and now even Windows PC are shipping with ARM processors. They are more than powerful enough to play casual and older games. But I guess developpers would need to take the time to make an ARM build.
Xaero_Vincent 17 January 2020 at 5:08 pm UTC
According to the article, Steam on Chrome OS will be enabled thru the Crostini virtual machine. It's already possible to run Steam for Linux on Chrome OS this way but apparently will be officially supported.

There are a few problems ATM, though.

Virgl (virtual GPU used by Crostini) needs many more 3D performance optimizations since Chromebooks have crappy iGPUs, they need GPUs performing as close to bare metal as possible for any gaming scenarios. Virgl also needs Vulkan support. Virgl not supporting Vulkan means Steam Play with DXVK doesn't work, nor newer Linux game games that target Vulkan.

I recently bought a Google Pixel Slate and like Chrome OS because it's Linux based and can run Android apps and games far better than Anbox currently can. I've managed to get Vulkan and DXVK working when I run Steam in a Debian crouton chroot environment. Still performance of the Intel UHD 615 is very lackluster.
jrt 17 January 2020 at 5:35 pm UTC
One point the article misses (or I have missed reading it) is that Steam has In-Home streaming. There are people already using that to game on lower end laptop's in a different room (or on mobile on the go). From what it seems valve is creating a cloud gaming service that uses the hardware and the licenses the people already own. (although upload speeds and latency are a big issue) The remote play together feature does exactly this at the moment (without one player even needing a license of the game or a pc capable of that game).
Purple Library Guy 17 January 2020 at 5:45 pm UTC
ZeloxIm confused :S. Can you even game on a chrome book, its cloud based right ?
Nothing is cloud based. I suppose in theory you could have something like an old fashioned dumb terminal that just got screen images sent from the cloud like some kind of universal Stadia, but such things don't exist. Chromebooks are just computers where the software by default keeps files in the cloud. But they have an OS and run software just like any other computer, they just sort of pretend they aren't, and a lot of the software is just the browser, like doing Google Docs and whatnot.
They would have problems with a lot of games because most of them are really wimpy computers. But some of the newer ones are less wimpy, and even a really wimpy-by-modern-standards computer can probably run quite a few older games.
Purple Library Guy 17 January 2020 at 5:48 pm UTC
KohlyKohl
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tuubi
LinasIn Denmark I see people using Linux on their laptops from time to time. MacBooks are very popular. But I don't think I have ever seen a Chromebook, either in use, or in a shop. Not anywhere in Northern or Eastern Europe for that matter.
I've never seen one either.

In Poland, Linux market share in some of stats is about ~2% and ChromeOS only at 0.09%, even if you can buy almost any ChromeBook model in Polish stores.

The biggest reason that Chrome OS is so popular is the US is because they replaced iPads in schools.
Seems reasonable. Chromebooks are cheaper than iPads and better for schoolwork--they do fine for most stuff you actually need for school, not as well for lots of distracting stuff, and they have a keyboard.
elmapul 17 January 2020 at 6:26 pm UTC
' Since Google are pushing their own gaming service with Stadia, you wouldn't expect them to do this. Gaming is a massive and powerful market though, giving a big boost to Chrome OS and Chromebooks with advertising that it works with Steam could definitely make some waves.'

actually, chromeOS may be the reason for google to invest in stadia to begin with.
sure, gaming is a profitable market, but operating systems can be even more, and microsoft tried to use their power over the windows to compete against google in the past.

who dont remember windows replacing your default search engine on chrome or firefox for bing instead of google?
or replacing your default browser?
or instaling silverlight on your browser, against the will of the user or the browser vendor?
microsoft tried to sabotage their competition, and that was the reson for google to try the enter their market to begin with.
slaapliedje 17 January 2020 at 7:45 pm UTC
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DamonLinuxPL
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LinasIn Denmark I see people using Linux on their laptops from time to time. MacBooks are very popular. But I don't think I have ever seen a Chromebook, either in use, or in a shop. Not anywhere in Northern or Eastern Europe for that matter.
I've never seen one either.

In Poland, Linux market share in some of stats is about ~2% and ChromeOS only at 0.09%, even if you can buy almost any ChromeBook model in Polish stores.
From all the demos and software that comes out of Poland for the Atari 8 bit computers, I think it probably has more market share there than ChromeOS!
Redneck 17 January 2020 at 8:29 pm UTC
Linas
RedneckIt already works! I am a proud owner of an Asus C302ca and most (if not all) of the newer Chromebooks include the Play Store.
So I basically installed Steam for Android and I'm perfectly able to stream games from my HTPC.
I think you mean the Steam Link app for streaming.

And Steam for Android is just a companion app, it doesn't allow you to play any games.

Ah yes, you're right. I was a bit in a hurry when I wrote.

Didn't actually think of games running on the laptop itself, that would be cool indeed
Orkultus 17 January 2020 at 9:28 pm UTC
So are they planning on making these chromebooks have enough power to run games in steam?
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