Popular cloud-gaming portal, Steam, is getting ready for a proper release on ChromeOS – and this time it’ll actually be easy to use…
Steam has been available for ChromeOS for a while now but its current guise is utterly terrible. It is complicated to install, jam-packed with issues and is only available on certain Chromebooks. Basically, it’s terrible.
In order to run Steam on your Chromebook right now, you need A) a specific type of Chromebook, B) certain Chrome Flags enabled, and C) have a special terminal open to run the software.
The process sucks and is way more complicated than most casual gamers can handle or have the patience for. But Google has been listening to our collective gripes and, for the past 12 months, has been working on a solution that’ll solve ALL of the above-mentioned problems.
But plans are afoot to make Steam for ChromeOS not suck. Google and Valve are currently working on a significantly simplified version of the current Steam application ChromeOS that’ll do away with all the headaches and performance issues.
How To Get Steam on ChromeOS
According to the developers behind the new application, work has been underway for the best part of six months now. The code is approaching its final form and the software will soon move from Alpha to Beta testing, indicating a fully-fledged release could be on the cards within the next few weeks and/or months.
The new code is shockingly straightforward, removing ChromeOS Beta from the list of versions that are not allowed to install Steam (referred to in the code as “borealis”). The developer’s description goes further to explain that Steam on ChromeOS is getting ready to enter “beta development phase,” and that when that happens, Chromebooks on the Beta update channel will be allowed to install Steam.
That said, it seems we still have a bit more waiting to do before Steam on ChromeOS enters Beta testing. According to a second developer, this change is being stalled “until the time is right,” likely referring to when the beta phase actually begins.
If you want to test out these current versions of Steam for ChromeOS, you have to be enrolled in Google’s Dev program. Once you’re in there, you can download test versions of the software and run them on your Chromebook. Be warned, though: it is not final software, it does crash a lot, and it likely won’t be worth your time – unless you’re a developer.
Stream For ChromeOS Release Date
With near-weekly updates to the code, and the fact that Steam for ChromeOS is about to enter beta testing, a release date for Steam on ChromeOS might not be too far away. How long? No one really knows – it could be weeks or it could be months. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that Steam is now approaching its final, release-grade format, meaning once the current beta testing is done, if everything goes well, a final version will be released, opening up proper Steam-powered gaming on Chromebooks.
And unlike its first stab at doing this, Google is keen on making this version of Steam for ChromeOS as simple as possible to use, meaning it’ll run just like any other application. Once Steam for ChromeOS is released, all you’ll have to do is download the app, sign in, and you can then start gaming on your Chromebook.
Finger’s crossed we don’t have to wait too long for the final build…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.