Steam on Chrome OS now available for select Chromebooks

Steam on Chrome OS now available for select Chromebooks

The Steam games platform has technically been accessible on Chromebooks ever since Google added the Linux application container (and even before then, using tools like Crouton), but Google has been working on a more integrated experience for a while now. Now the company is ready for people to start testing it.

Google announced today that Steam is now available in the Chrome OS Dev Channel as an “early alpha build.” Only a handful of Chromebooks are supported right now, which are listed below, and at least 8GB RAM is required. There aren’t many PC games at this point that function well with only 4GB RAM, so that’s not much of a surprise. Google also notes that display resolutions higher than 1080p “may encounter performance and scaling issues.”

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Supported Chromebooks

  • Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W)
  • Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W)
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
  • ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
  • HP Pro c640 G2 Chromebook
  • Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook

Note: Only the Core i5/i7 configurations with at least 8GB RAM are supported.

Google has listed many games as functional, even in the current buggy alpha state. Some of the currently-working games include Portal 2, Team Fortress 2 (once multi-core rendering is turned off in the graphics settings), Stardew Valley, Sid Meier’s Civilization V, Cuphead, Kerbal Space Program, and Untitled Goose Game. Even more graphically-demanding games running in the Steam Play compatibility layer, such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and Fallout 4, work on higher-end Chromebooks.

How to install Steam on Chrome OS

Here are the steps to install Google’s build of Steam. If you already have Steam installed on your Chromebook, it might be a good idea to remove it before trying Google’s version.

  1. Switch to the Chrome OS Dev Channel, if you haven’t done so already. Google recommends not doing this if you need a stable computer for work, school, or other important activities.
  2. After your Chromebook is on the Dev Channel, go to chrome://flags#borealis-enabled (you have to copy and paste that link), set the highlighted dropdown to ‘Enabled,’ then reboot when asked.
  3. Open a Crosh Terminal with CTRL+ALT+T.
  4. Type “insert_coin volteer-JOlkth573FBLGa” (without quotes) and press Enter.
  5. Follow the steps to install Steam.

We’ll have to wait and see how Steam on Chrome OS progresses. The recent launch of Valve’s Steam Deck has put more attention on Linux and Steam Play as a way to play Windows games outside of Windows PCs, and as more games are built with Steam Play in mind, Chromebook players will also reap the rewards.

More information for Steam on Chrome OS

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer. Check out what he's up to at corbin.io.

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