Some heavily caveated good news for Chromebook owners: Valve’s Steam gaming platform is now officially supported as part of ChromeOS 119, which is currently rolling out. You’ll find a Steam installer in the app drawer, just asking to be run.
Now here are the caveats. Firstly, Steam has actually already been on ChromeOS in beta form since March — it was just a faff to get working, hidden away behind a flag for enthusiasts to try if they really wanted. Now Google has decided it’s in a fit enough state for public consumption.
Secondly, this won’t suddenly turn your Chromebook into a gaming powerhouse, and indeed only the expensive models that once felt like overkill for ChromeOS are supported. The full list is here.
Thirdly, even if you have a Chromebook that meets the system requirements, most games on Steam are designed for Windows, with a smaller selection available for macOS. The number that Google confirms as compatible with ChromeOS is even smaller.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t contain a few things that are worth playing. Amidst the games that you’ve never heard of, there are some venerable classics like Portal 2, Mirror’s Edge and The Sims 3. In terms of less demanding indie titles, it’s even better served, boasting compatibility with the likes of Hotline Miami, Into the Breach, Dead Cells, Papers Please and A Short Hike.
And, as 9to5Google points out, that list is just games that Google has confirmed as working through testing. There are plenty more, including Vampire Survivors, Hades, Cuphead, Stardew Valley, Civilization V, DOOM, Disco Elysium and — of course — Skyrim.
So, while this isn’t a reason to buy a pricey Chromebook over an actual gaming laptop, it is at least a nice bonus for those who didn’t cheap out on their hardware in the first place. Hopefully it’ll prove popular enough for developers to make more games work on ChromeOS going forwards.
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