Google’s ambitions for gaming-focused Chromebooks may be close to reality. After years of teasing Steam for Chrome OS and even Nvidia demo support for DLSS and ray tracing on Arm-based Chromebooks, references to new gaming Chromebooks have now been spotted in test versions of Chrome OS.
Google revealed it was working on Steam support for Chromebooks two years ago, but we’ve heard very little since then.
9to5Google reports that three codenames for potential gaming Chromebooks have been spotted, all with RGB keyboards. The publication speculates that both HP and Lenovo could test gaming Chromebooks based on employee contributions to Chrome OS code. A third mysterious device, codenamed Ripple, turns out to be a tablet with a detachable keyboard.
A new flag has also been discovered in Chrome OS that enables RGB keyboard support, something popular on gaming laptops from Razer and many other OEMs. While the flag could just be additional support for existing USB keyboards, 9to5Google believes that this Chrome OS RGB support is added specifically for these unreleased Chromebooks. RGB keyboards are nothing without games, and Steam will be the key when these gaming Chromebooks become a reality.
In lieu of compelling alternatives, Valve announced its Steam Deck, a handheld Linux-based gaming device that will ship in late February. Steam Deck could help make gaming on Linux much more popular than it is today, thanks in large part to Valve’s Proton technology. Proton is a compatibility layer that allows Steam to run Windows games on Linux, and the list of supported games is growing all the time.
Proton now also supports two of the most popular anti-cheat systems, Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) and BattlEye. Developers still need to test and confirm that their games will work with Proton anti-cheat support, but it could open up the Steam Deck and all potential gaming Chromebooks to popular titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Lot 2, Halo Infiniteand PUBG.