Google has officially launched an alpha version of Steam for Chrome OS (opens in new tab) in the Chrome OS 14583.0.0 (opens in new tab) Dev channel. The search giant previously announced Steam for Chromebooks (opens in new tab) during last week’s Google Games Summit (opens in new tab) but failed to launch it at the time.
Now, folks in the dev channel can try Steam on Chrome OS… so long as they have Chromebooks capable of running Valve’s application.
“Because many games have high-performance demands, we’ve focused our efforts thus far on a set of devices where more games can run well,” stated Google in the aforementioned developer channel.
To run Steam, Chromebooks will require, at a minimum, Intel Iris Xe Graphics GPUs, 11th gen Core i5 or i7 processors and 8GB of RAM. Here are the Chromebooks that can run Steam:
Chromebooks that support Steam
- Acer Chromebook 514 (currently $779 @ Amazon (opens in new tab))
- Acer Chromebook 515 (currently unavailable)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (currently $549 @ Amazon (opens in new tab))
- ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (currently $871 @ Insight (opens in new tab))
- ASUS Chromebook CX9 (currently unavailable)
- HP Pro c640 G2 Chromebook (currently $489 @ HP (opens in new tab))
- Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook (currently $329 @ Lenovo (opens in new tab))
Google also said that configurations of these laptops with an i3 CPU or 4GB of RAM are not supported. There are also known issues affecting specific device configurations. For example, machines with 8GB of RAM may face problems with games that require 6GB (or more) of RAM. Chromebooks with resolutions higher than 1080p may also have performance and scaling issues.
Speaking of hiccups, Google recommends not trying Steam on Chromebooks that you regularly use. The company said that crashes, performance regressions and “never-before-seen-bugs” are to be expected.
There are currently 48 playable titles for Steam on Chrome OS. This includes games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 4, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Tekken 7. Some of the listed titles require enabling Steam Play (opens in new tab) or may work better on models with higher specs, such as 16GB of RAM.
We'll be doing more digging, but it's worth nothing that Steam on macOS supports none of the above games.
Playing Skyrim and The Witcher 3 on a Chromebook will be interesting considering how Google’s laptops aren’t normally associated with high-end gaming. But having Steam on Chrome OS could eventually make Chromebooks viable alternatives to the best gaming PCs and best gaming laptops. Of course, Google and Valve will need to iron out whatever compatibility issues arise in order for that to happen.
We’re currently in the process of procuring some of the listed compatible Chromebooks to see how well (or horrible) Steam runs on them. Be sure to check back with us to see the results.