Well, some Chromebook users. Those with a specific and short list of devices. Moreover, the version of Steam on Chrome OS is in alpha, and it requires running a beta version of Chrome OS (specifically, the ‘Dev’ channel of Google’s operating system).
In other words, if you’ve eagerly awaited the arrival of Steam on Chrome OS, you likely will have to wait a little longer unless you have a supported device and are willing to deal with bugs, glitches, and tons of other potential problems running beta software.
According to a Google blog post, the supported Chromebooks include:
- Acer Chromebook 514 and 515
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713
- Asus Chromebook Flip CX5
- Asus Chromebook CX9
- HP Pro c640 G2
- Lenovo 5i Chromebook
Moreover, you’ll need to have one of the above Chromebooks with Intel Xe graphics, an 11th Gen Intel i5 or i7 processor, and at least 8GB of RAM. Plus, the company notes that games that require a lot of RAM — for example, 6GB — may not work well on Chromebooks with 8GB of RAM. Finally, Google warned of performance and scaling issues on devices with screens with resolutions higher than 1080p (the company is working on a fix).
Google also has a list of recommended games that people can try with Steam on Chrome OS, some of which come with caveats. Further, the company says that Chrome OS will “typically” play the Linux version of a game, but there is Proton support for running Windows games too. Proton, for those unfamiliar, is a compatibility layer developed by Valve to help run Windows games on Linux.
As for the install process is that users need first to switch their Chromebook to the Chrome OS Dev channel, then change a flag in ‘chrome://flags.’ After that, rebooting and punching in a terminal command will start the Steam install process. Once installed, users should be able to install games through Steam as they would on Windows. You can find more details on the process here.
It’s great to see Steam finally arriving on Chrome OS, even in such an early state. However, I wouldn’t recommend trying it to anyone not comfortable with using alpha software and contending with bugs. Still, now that it’s actually available, it hopefully won’t be much longer before Steam moves from alpha to beta, and then to full release.