Google launches Steam alpha for Chromebooks

Something to look forward to: After years of anticipation and a minor error from Google, some Chromebook users can now start testing Steam. However, this initial alpha release supports a limited number of Chromebooks due to high system requirements.

Google has now started to pull back the curtain on its plans to support Steam on Chromebooks. This week, the company opened an alpha for users of recent Chromebooks after prematurely announcing its plans last week. Google’s FAQ has instructions, system requirements, known issues, and a selection of a few dozen tested games.

The alpha focuses on seven specific Chromebook models:

  • Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W)
  • Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W)
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
  • Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
  • Asus Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
  • HP Chromebook Pro c640 G2
  • Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook.

Google is working to expand this list in the future.

Enabling Steam on one of these Chromebooks requires an Intel Iris Xe graphics chip, an 11th Gen Intel i5 or i7 processor, and a minimum of 8GB of RAM. Even systems with 8GB of RAM can have issues with games that use more than 6GB, and Google can only guarantee good performance up to 1080p resolution.

To enable Steam, go to the Dev channel, enter “chrome://flags#borealis-enabled” in the Chrome address bar, and change the setting to Enabled. After rebooting, hit ctrl+alt+t to open a crosh terminal, type “insert_coin volteer-JOlkth573FBLGa” then hit enter. After that, follow the installation prompts to install Steam and log in.

The list of games that Google has tested and recommended includes Portal 2, Hades, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Civilization V, Cuphead, Tekken 7, Disco Elysium, and many more. Easy Anti-Cheat and BattleEye don’t work on Chromebooks yet, so some newer multiplayer games probably aren’t supported. Google has yet to announce when it will enter beta.

Print credit: Konstantin Savusia

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