Chromebook Game Mode to support Steam on Chrome OS — Google prepares for PC gaming

Asus Chromebook Flip C434
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

With Windows 10 and even M1 Macs killing it in the PC gaming scene, it's hard to find a place for gaming on even some of the best Chromebooks around. However, Google's upcoming Game Mode may finally make Chromebooks a worthy (and affordable) gaming laptop.

A recent update on Chromium Gerrit shows Google is working on a new Game Mode feature to work alongside its Borealis, a code name for an upcoming Steam gaming container for Chrome OS. Great PC games on a Chromebook? You've piqued our interest, Google. 

Chrome OS Game Mode

(Image credit: Chromium Gerrit)

Steam is coming to Chromebooks

As seen on Chrome Unboxed, the commit details how the Chrome OS game mode would work, switching on when a Borealis window is focused and enters and exits full screen. This looks to be referring to when a game goes into full-screen mode when it launches on Steam. It's not stated how Game Mode will affect the Chromebook, and if other features will come with it such as screen recording.

The Borealis project has been hinting at a Steam game container since last year, as rumour had it Google and Valve were coming up with a plan to bring Steam to Chrome OS. With the new commits, all signs are pointing towards Steam coming to Chromebooks very soon. Some believe it's likely to come as soon as mid-2021.

While Chromebooks already have games available, along with being able to play more demanding titles thanks to Google Stadia, the wide variety of PC games Steam offers vastly outnumber (and outshines) what's already available.

Chromebooks are also expected to get Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs, arriving this year, with integrated Xe graphics. With the new chips, Chromebooks will be capable of playing plenty of games available on Steam. However, don't expect to be toggling with the "Ultra" graphics options too much.

Chromebooks have seen a surge in popularity thanks to their affordable prices, and if you happen to be making the transition from Windows to Chromebook, here's how to make it easy. 

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.