Google’s plans for gaming-oriented Chromebooks may be on the verge of becoming a reality. After years of hyping Steam for Chrome OS and even Nvidia demoing DLSS and ray tracing functionality on Arm-based Chromebooks, references to new gaming Chromebooks have recently been detected in Chrome OS test versions.
Google announced two years ago that it was working on Steam integration for Chromebooks, but nothing has happened since then.
Chromebooks have completed their education and are now ready to have some fun. Google is working on bringing full RGB keyboards to Chromebooks, according to recent updates to the Chrome OS code, implying that full-fledged gaming systems are on the way. After all, an RGB keyboard on a laptop that isn’t designed for gaming isn’t actually a thing.
This RGB key support, which is detected by the source, allows you to modify the intensity of each red, blue, and green key light separately. This manner, much as on a gaming Windows PC, you can fine-tune the brightness and colour of each key.
For the time being, the capability is only available to developers via an internal command, but it could soon be featured on forthcoming laptops. While Google hasn’t verified the feature, the source claims to have discovered proof indicating RGB support is intended for future devices rather than external Bluetooth or USB keyboards.
We don’t know which brand will be the first to adopt the technology, but a trio of enigmatic devices codenamed Vell, Taniks, and Ripple provide a hint. Vell, a system based on Intel’s 12th-generation Alder Lake CPUs, is purportedly made by Quanta, and the individual who contributed the most to Vell also worked on HP’s latest releases. As the source speculates, this could allude to the forthcoming introduction of an HP Omen Chromebook.
Similarly, Taniks is the brainchild of LCDC, Lenovo’s largest R&D and hardware maker, so a Legion-branded gaming Chromebook isn’t out of the question. Ripple, on the other hand, is said to be related to a detachable RGB keyboard, so we could see a Chrome OS version of Asus’s new ROG Flow Z13.
Chromebooks have been available for a decade, but none of them feature an RGB keyboard or a dedicated GPU capable of natively playing games. To play games on a Chromebook today, you must use an Android app or a streaming service such as Google Stadia or Nvidia GeForce Now.
Chromebooks aren’t just limited in terms of hardware; they’re also limited in terms of software. Because Chrome OS is built on Linux, you won’t be able to access your Windows PC collection through Steam. At the moment, no.
A Chrome OS product manager informed Android Authority in January 2020 that the business was working on bringing Steam to Chrome OS with the aid of Valve. Indeed, a project codenamed Borealis has been in the works for a long time to allow Steam and other Linux-compatible PC games to run on Chromebooks in a virtual machine. Borealis was initially identified in mid-2020 as a Linux distro based on Ubuntu with a pre-installed version of Steam, and the latest evidence discovered by Android Police in the form of system flags implies it could launch in the following weeks. Despite the growing evidence, Google has yet to make an official announcement on the arrival of Steam games on Chromebooks.
Chrome Unboxed has been following the development of Borealis closely and believes that in the near future, Steam will be a permanent addition to the Chrome OS settings menu, and that the game client may even come pre-installed on compatible Chrome OS devices.
When Valve released Porton, a modified version of Wine, to bring Windows games to Linux devices, it created the framework for Steam to function on Linux. Although not all titles are available, according to reports, 80 percent of Steam’s top 100 games are playable on Linux. Valve, on the other hand, is gearing up to release Steam Deck, a popular portable gaming PC that could help Linux gain traction.
Excuse the codenames, but the key truth is that there’s a good chance Google will introduce Steam to Chromebooks and make it a significant part of the OS. With today’s announcement, at least a few vendors are prepared to switch on the RGB lights and turn Chrome OS into a genuine gaming platform.