What you need to know
- Google is bringing a native Steam experience to more Chromebooks.
- In order to try out Steam Beta, you'll need to be on ChromeOS beta 108.0.5359.24 or greater.
- The expanded list of Chromebooks now also includes those powered by Intel Core i3, AMD Ryzen 3, and Intel 12th Gen CPUs.
For the better part of the past year, owners of select Chromebooks have been able to enjoy a native Steam experience on ChromeOS thanks to the Steam Alpha program. While the initial list of supported Chromebooks was pretty short, Google has announced that Steam Beta is rolling out and brings with it some pretty exciting changes.
First and foremost, part of the potential headache for those who wanted to try out Steam Alpha on a compatible Chromebook was that you needed to switch over to the Dev Channel, fire up Crosh, and make sure that the commands were entered properly. Thankfully, Google has removed a bunch of the overhead when it comes to playing Steam games on Chromebooks. With the update to ChromeOS Beta 108.0.5359.24, you'll simply need to enable the Borealis Chrome flag, then "just search for “Steam” in the ChromeOS launcher to start the installation."
Another potential frustration in trying to play Steam games on Chromebooks was that there weren't enough compatible options. Sure, the list was comprised of some of the best Chromebooks, such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 and ASUS Chromebook CX9. But it still required either Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 processors, as those are equipped with onboard Intel Iris Xe graphics. And until now, you couldn't try out Steam on newer Chromebooks powered by Intel's 12th Gen chips, such as the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 or any of the new gaming-focused Chromebooks.
Not only has the list been expanded to include 12th Gen Intel Chromebooks, but Google also announced that you'll be able to play Steam games on Chromebooks powered by AMD Ryzen processors. Going even further, ChromeOS 108 lowers the minimum requirements, meaning that if you have a Chromebook with an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 and at least 8GB of RAM, you'll be able to enjoy Steam.
- Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W)
- Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W)
- Acer Chromebook 516 GE
- Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-3H, CP514-3HH, CP514-3WH)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN)
- Acer Chromebook Vero 514
- ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
- ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
- ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5601)
- ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip
- Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition
- HP Elite c640 14 inch G3 Chromebook
- HP Elite c645 G2 Chromebook
- HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
- HP Pro c640 G2 Chromebook
- IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16
- Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook
- Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook 14
- Lenovo ThinkPad C14
Of course, Google does point out that performance will vary depending on the Chromebook being used and the game that you're trying to play. For instance, you may find yourself needing to tinker around with the in-game graphics settings in order to get a game to work properly. Google still recommends that your Chromebook has at least 16GB of RAM and either an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor in order to have the "best experience."
Gone are the days when you are limited to playing games only from the Play Store on your Chromebook or from within your browser. And while there's still some work to be done, we couldn't be more excited for Steam to make its way into the hands of even more users with today's update. We'll be testing out Steam on ChromeOS over the coming weeks to see how it's progressed, but the future is definitely bright for gaming on Chromebooks.
12th Gen power
Acer's Chromebook Spin 714 is one of our favorite Chromebooks thanks to its convertible design and garaged stylus. But now, it can also be transformed into a portable gaming rig with the help of Steam on ChromeOS.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.