Google to bring Steam to Chromebooks, Android games to PCs
Valve Software’s Steam digital games library has become synonymous with PC gaming, but now it’s coming to… Chromebooks?
Yes, it’s true, according to a post made by a Chrome support manager to the Chromebook Help forum on Tuesday, and unearthed by 9to5Google.
The post is short, and doesn’t offer much detail, but does represent a commitment. “As you may have already heard, our team is working with Valve to bring Steam to Chrome OS,” a support manager named “Alisha” wrote. “We are very excited to share that we’ll be landing an early, alpha-quality version of Steam on Chrome OS in the Dev channel for a small set of Chromebooks coming soon. Please come back to the forum for more information!”
As odd as it may sound, the plan to bring Steam to Chromebooks has been in the works for some time, dating back to 2020. As Thurrott.com explained then, the argument worked like this: Steam runs on top of Linux, and Linux runs well on Chromebooks. (Valve’s Steam Deck handheld already runs Linux—and now Windows, too.) It makes sense, then, that Steam will eventually land on Chromebooks.
However, there’s certainly a lot further to go in making Steam as accessible on Chromebooks as it is on PCs, as the post indicates. We don’t know what “a small set of Chromebooks” entails, or what hardware Steam will run on. As most Chromebook owners know, Chromebooks tend to fall into two camps: inexpensive Chromebooks that run on Arm processors, and more powerful hardware that can use an X86 processor. It’s this latter camp that has been searching for more applications to justify the price. In the meantime, of course, you can play games in Microsoft’s Xbox cloud on a Chromebook.
Google made its Chromebook announcement in conjunction with its Games Developer Summit, held this week, where the company tipped its progress in another direction: bringing Google Play Games to the PC. Android apps are now available for Windows 11 PCs, but just from the Amazon Appstore. Google is still synonymous with Android apps, so it’s natural to wonder whether Google will follow Amazon’s lead and bring Google apps to the PC.
The answer is, yes, but not quite yet. Google Play Games (not the entire app store) is launching as a beta in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and the teaser site for the program (highlighted by XDA-Developers.com) reveals that those regions, at least, will receive games like Magic Rush: Heroes, State of Survival: Zombie War, and Summoners War.
If you’d like to get a look at what Google Play Games could look like on the PC, Google has a teaser video for you.
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Author: Mark Hachman, Senior Editor
As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.