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Steam on Chromebook Enters Beta With More Games, Device Support

Hundreds of Steam games are now playable on Chromebooks with Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 CPUs.

Acer Chromebook 526 GE laptop open facing away and to the left showing the two-tone gray lid and sitting on a wood table with a blue couch behind it.
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE is one of the Chromebooks now supported by Steam on ChromeOS. 
Josh Goldman/CNET

Google and game-maker Valve have made it easier for more people to play their PC games on Chromebooks. Steam on Chromebook will enter beta with the ChromeOS 108 update, the companies announced Thursday. Earlier this year, the two released an alpha version of Valve's Steam game store to try on Chromebooks through the ChromeOS Dev channel. It will now move out of the instability of the Dev channel and into the ChromeOS Beta channel, with support for more devices, more games and an improved user experience.   

While Chromebooks are widely used for education and business, they don't have a reputation as gaming machines. Google and its hardware and software partners are doing their best to change that this year. Along with Steam moving into beta, Acer, Lenovo and Asus released new cloud-gaming Chromebooks in October. At the same time, Nvidia, Microsoft and Amazon announced increased Chromebook support for their cloud-gaming platforms, GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud and Luna, respectively.

Entering beta means hundreds of Steam games are now playable on a wider variety of Chromebooks and major issues affecting the whole system should be uncommon, Google said in its announcement. Since it's still in development, though, there will be issues, with many other games running poorly or not at all, and the entire user experience won't be release-quality. 

With the beta release, support was added for devices with AMD Ryzen 5000 C-series and Intel 12th-gen Core CPUs. Minimum CPU requirements were also lowered to include Core i3 and Ryzen 3 processors and 8GB of RAM. Google still recommends an i5 or Ryzen 5 and 16GB of RAM for the best experience. There are now 20 Chromebook models officially supported for Steam on ChromeOS. 

  • 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
  • Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16
  • Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook
  • Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook 14
  • Lenovo ThinkPad C14

Google also made Steam easier to install. Once you enter the Beta channel on your Chromebook (just search "channel" in Settings to find it), you then turn on the #enable-borealis flag in chrome://flags and search for "Steam" in the ChromeOS launcher. Full details for Steam on ChromeOS can be found on the Chromium Projects site.