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Something to look forward to: After years of anticipation and a minor slip-up by Google, some Chromebook users can now start testing out Steam. However, this initial alpha supports a limited number of Chromebooks due to high system requirements.
Google has now started to pull back the curtain on its plans for supporting Steam on Chromebooks. This week, the company opened an alpha for users with recent Chromebooks after prematurely announcing its plans last week. Google's FAQ lays out the instructions, system requirements, known issues, and a selection of a few dozen tested games.
The alpha is focused 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 Pro c640 G2 Chromebook
- Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook.
Google is working on expanding this list in the future.
Enabling Steam on one of these Chromebooks requires an Intel Iris Xe Graphics chip, an Intel 11th generation i5 or i7 CPU, and a minimum of 8GB of RAM. Even systems with 8GB of RAM might run into trouble with games that use more than 6GB, and Google can only guarantee good performance up to 1080p resolution.
To activate Steam, switch to Dev channel, enter "chrome://flags#borealis-enabled" in the Chrome address bar, and switch the setting to Enabled. After rebooting, press ctrl+alt+t to open a crosh terminal, type "insert_coin volteer-JOlkth573FBLGa" then hit Enter. After that, follow the setup prompts to install Steam and log in.
The list of games 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 recent multiplayer games are probably unsupported. Google has not announced when it would move into the beta phase yet.
Masthead credit: Konstantin Savusia