Thanks to Linux, Google and Valve are Bringing Steam to Chromebooks

Jan 20, 2020

In yet another win for desktop Linux, Google and Steam are about to up the Chromebook gaming field.

On many supported Chromebooks, it is already possible to run Linux applications on the chromebook. For certain user types, this has been a real boon. However, for gamers, not so much. That is about to change, thanks to a joint effort by Google and Valve.

According to Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google Chrome OS, Steam is coming to Chromebooks. Steam is a digital video game distribution service, offered by Valve, originally released in 2003 as a means for Valve to provide automatic updates for their own line of games. Eventually the service was expanded to include third-party publishers, and it is now one of the largest digital distribution systems for games.

This new evolution for the Chromebook wouldn’t be possible without the addition of Linux compatibility for Chromebooks. So not only will Chromebook users be able to install from the massive catalogue of Linux applications, they will (in the near future) be able to run the same Steam games available to the Linux platform.

There is, of course, one caveat. Many of the Chromebooks on the market today run low-end specs. Those devices will most likely only be able to enjoy the very basic 2D games. In order to run more modern, graphics-intensive games, the Chromebook will require significantly beefier hardware.

At the moment it is possible to install the Steam Linux client on Chrome OS using the Crostini Linux compatibility layer. However, that installation offers zero support and very poor performance. The official rollout will take some time … maybe even years. Until then, you can satisfy your Linux fix on Chromebooks with the software available via Crostini and the apt-get install command.

Original announcement.

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