Eric Zeman / Android Authority
- Steam support on Chrome OS is one step closer to a soft launch.
- New flags are present in the latest developer build of Chrome OS.
- The developer version could graduate to the beta channel in the coming weeks.
Gaming on Chrome OS, at least using Steam, isn’t as flawless as it should be. There’s no dedicated Steam client yet, but there are workarounds. However, this could all change very soon. According to new evidence, native Steam support could debut on Chromebooks in the coming weeks, giving consumers another potential reason to buy Chrome OS-powered laptops.
Per an Android Police report, two new flags are present in Chrome OS’s latest dev channel build relating to Borealis — the code-name of the Steam support project on the platform. The current developer version is likely next in line to graduate to Chrome OS’s beta channel, suggesting that Steam support could soon make its soft public debut.
Notably, there’s also evidence that the Valve-developed Proton will also feature, effectively providing a compatibility layer within Linux to run supported Windows games. It’s a pretty exciting prospect, especially if Chromebooks of the future land with beefier GPUs and Vulkan graphical API support. Eventually, with these additions, Chromebooks could morph into viable portable gaming companions.
See also: The best Chromebooks you can buy
Steam on Chromebooks: When will it launch?
That said, it’s unlikely that every Chromebook past and present will fully realize the potential of Borealis. Some devices may lack the hardware required to run graphically intensive titles, even with native Steam support. You probably shouldn’t expect the Stream experience on Chrome OS to be flawless from the get-go, either. We’ll have to wait and see how streamlined the experience is once it hits beta.
For now, there’s also no word when Google will kick up the current dev version of Chrome OS into the beta realm. But don’t be too surprised if it releases within the next week or two.