While Chromebooks were not originally intended to be gaming devices, they’ve evolved a lot over the years. Thanks to Linux support, you can play full-fledged Steam games on compatible Chromebooks. We’ll show you what you need to get playing.
Which Chromebooks Can Run Steam?
The first thing you’ll need is a Chromebook that supports Steam. At the time of writing, there’s a decent number of new-ish Chromebooks that are compatible. Here’s the full list as of January 2023:
- 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
Before you run out and buy one of these Chromebooks, you’ll also need to make sure to get a compatible configuration. That includes an 11th-gen Intel Core i3/Ryzen 3 or higher processor, a minimum of 8GB of RAM, and Intel Iris Xe Graphics.
RELATED: Here's How Steam Works on Chromebooks
How to Install Steam on a Chromebook
With your compatible Chromebook in hand, we can go ahead and install Steam. At the time of writing, Steam is only available in the beta channel of Chrome OS 108 or newer. So the first thing to do is switch over to the beta channel if you’re not already there.
We have a separate step-by-step walkthrough for switching Chrome OS to the beta channel and installing Steam. You won’t lose anything when you switch to the beta channel, but Chrome OS may be a bit more unstable. Just something to keep in mind.
RELATED: How to Install Steam on a Chromebook
How to Play Steam Games on Chrome OS
Once you’ve got Steam up and running on your Chromebook, that’s pretty much it! Steam on Chrome OS works the same as it does on other platforms. Your existing games can be installed from the “Library” tab as usual, and you can purchase games from the Steam Store (or take your pick from Steam’s selection of free games).
However, one thing to keep in mind is that while all games should technically work, not all games work well. Google has curated a list of games they’ve tested and have confirmed to work. Games that aren’t on this list may work perfectly fine, or not.
This is the most important thing to remember when playing Steam games on a Chromebook. We’re still in the early days of this functionality. As evidenced by needing to be on the beta channel, it’s not fully ready for prime time. You will almost certainly run into some hiccups along the way. Keep an eye on Google’s list of known issues.
That’s all there is to it! Thanks to Linux and Valve’s work on the Steam Deck, it’s finally possible to use a Chromebook for serious PC gaming.
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