Steam might be off to try and conquer the wild, new world of virtual reality, but it there is one other uncharted territory where it has yet to leave a mark. Android is probably the last platform you’d imagine Steam to run on, but, considering the places the OS can now be found on, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise anymore. At least, soon. That is exactly what company CodeWeavers is trying to do and it showed off part of the work, with the Steam client running on the Android-based Remix OS.
Let’s get terminology and technical stuff straight first. CodeWeavers is company whose main product is CrossOver, a software that, to put it in extremely simplistic terms, allows some Windows programs to run on Linux and Mac OS X. CrossOver itself is an improved and commercially sold version of Wine (technically WINE, which stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator), a popular piece of open source software that does the same. Neither Wine nor CrossOver are magic solutions that make all Windows programs work on those operating systems. Some do, some don’t. Some work flawlessly and other work minimally.
One of the things that Wine and CrossOver have been good at is getting some Windows games to work on Linux and Mac, again to varying degrees of success. Considering the complexity of Windows games and the fact that they use something like DirectX, that is no small achievement. It is that achievement that Wine and CrossOver developers are aiming to bring to Android, which is, at its heart, a Linux-based operating system.
At GDC 2016, CodeWeavers President James Ramey showed off a part of that promise. It was the Steam Client running on Android, albeit on the Remix OS version of the platform. Remix practically respins Android into a shape and form that works almost as well as a desktop OS like Windows. To be specific, the version of Remix OS seen in the video below is probably the new version that runs on x86, that is Intel, computers, like a MacBook pro, for example. It is conceivably easier to get Wine working on an Intel-based computer than an ARM-based one, since Wine was developed for desktop platforms primarily.
That said, getting the Steam client to run on Android is just one small but significant step. It does prove that Wine on Android, at least x86 Android does at least work. Getting a more resource-intensive Windows game to actually run on Android, however, is a whole different ballpark. If CodeWeavers succeeds in executing that just as well as it does on Linux and Mac OS X, then it could, in theory, bring Android to a whole new exciting frontier.
VIA: Wine Reviews