steam interface on a chromebook screen

Does your Chromebook support Steam games?

In case you hadn’t heard, Google is getting serious about making ChromeOS a formidable gaming platform. Despite Google’s streaming gaming service Stadia disappearing in time, the staff at Alphabet have high hopes that Chromebooks can still attract a wide range of gamers from every imaginable genre and platform. It all started back in 2016 when Google gave us the promise of the Play Store and Android apps on ChromeOS. It was a long and somewhat painful road but a few years later and Chromebooks now come with the Google Play Store out of the box.

Google is still fighting the good fight to encourage and enable developers to create Android apps designed to run on larger devices, but the app ecosystem on ChromeOS is thriving and expanding more every day. This means your Chromebook has access to thousands of Android games that offer optimized experiences on your Play Store-enabled device. More recently, Google has doubled down on cloud gaming, and while the company’s in-house game streaming service is quickly coming to an end, select OEMs have partnered with Google to launch the first-ever “gaming” Chromebooks designed for the cloud gamer on the go. The addition of streaming platforms from Nvidia, Microsoft and Amazon gives users access to big AAA titles that once eluded Chromebooks that lack the horsepower to run these kinds of graphics-intensive games.

This is great news for the world of ChromeOS, but there’s another gaming platform that Google is very serious about adding to the Chromebook’s resume. It’s been nearly three years since Google shared that it was working with Valve to bring Steam games to ChromeOS. Due to the cloud-centric nature of Chromebooks, we freely assumed this would come in the form of some form of streaming like Valve’s own Steam Cloud Play. However, that was not the case.

Further development revealed that Google created a container that would run Steam and its games in much the same way that ChromeOS runs Linux applications in a container locally on the actual device. This seemed a bit far-fetched since most Chromebooks, even the powerful Core i7 models, lacked any real GPU as they were limited to Intel’s built-in UHD graphics. However, Intel recently debuted the company’s Iris Xe graphics, which bring the Core processors’ graphics more on par with low- to mid-range GPUs found in gaming devices. Iris Xe won’t dance with the latest GPUs costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, but the built-in GPUs can run a large number of games available from the Steam library.

After months and months of development, Google finally made the Steam game project official in March of this year. Launching in Alpha, Steam on ChromeOS was only available in the experimental channels of ChromeOS and it required one of only a few devices along with a special “token” to activate Steam. Last month, Steam on ChromeOS was upgraded to beta, and the project added more devices, more supported titles, and a number of tweaks and bug fixes to improve the user experience. Enabling Steam on ChromeOS is now as easy as moving your Chromebook to the ChromeOS beta channel and enabling the “borealis” flag in the chrome://flags menu. Not tokens or often unstable developer channels.

Does your Chromebook support Steam?

The good news is that Google and Valve have extended Steam support to late-gen devices that don’t necessarily have Iris Xe graphics or the most powerful onboard GPUs. As of last month, a wide range of Chromebooks with Core i3/Ryzen 3 (AMD 5000 series) and above processors now have access to Steam games. You will need a device with at least 8GB of RAM and since these games are installed locally, you will need to have a lot of storage space at your disposal. Thankfully, most of these more powerful Chromebooks come with at least 128GB drives and up. Below is the list of officially supported devices for accessing Steam on ChromeOS Beta.

So, these are the Chromebooks that are officially supported for Steam games, but now, what are you going to play. Well, you can try any game in your library. In fact, Google and Valve encourage players to test their favorite titles and provide feedback on any bugs or issues. This will help developers refine the user experience for a wider range of games. For now, there is a list of games that the Steam developers have tested and recommend you try. Some require you to enable Steam Play but we’ll cover that in a bit. Known issues or recommended settings are in parentheses.

  • A short hike
  • Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
  • Age of Mythology: Extended Edition
  • Baba is you
  • Besiege
  • Bloons TD 6
  • Bloons TD Battles 2
  • Celeste
  • Core Keeper
  • Cult of the Lamb
  • Cultist Simulator
  • Cuphead
  • Darkest Dungeon®
  • Dead cells
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
  • Dicey Dungeons
  • Disco Elysium (Long loading time on first launch)
  • Dishonored
  • Disney Dreamlight Valley
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 (set the graphics quality preset to Medium or lower)
  • Dome Keeper
  • Do not starve together
  • Village romance
  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Escape Simulator
  • Euro truck simulator 2
  • Factory
  • Fallout 4 (Set graphics quality to medium or lower. 16GB recommended)
  • Farm together
  • The fishing plane
  • Football Manager 2022
  • For the king
  • Gang Beasts
  • Geometry Dash
  • Bleak dawn
  • Violence again
  • Hades (Select default version at launch)
  • Half life 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV
  • Hollow Knight
  • Human: Fall Flat (Set Advanced Video to Medium or lower)
  • Encryption
  • Into the Breach
  • Katamari Damacy REROLL
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Killer Queen Black
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Loop Hero
  • Mini Metro
  • The edge of the mirror
  • Monster train
  • Suede
  • Northgard
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Oxygen not included
  • Paper please
  • PAYDAY 2
  • Portal 2
  • Change
  • Project Zomboid
  • Return of Obra Dinn
  • RimWorld
  • RISK: Global dominance
  • Shatter Remastered Deluxe
  • Trade Titans
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization V
  • Kill the Sprout
  • Slime Rancher
  • STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™
  • Stardew Valley
  • Stellaris
  • Stormworks: Build and Rescue
  • Stumbling guys
  • Subnautica
  • Table simulator
  • Team Fortress 2 (Disable multicore rendering (Options > Graphics > Advanced)
  • Terraria
  • Tetris® Effect: Connected
  • Battle of Polytopia
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (Set graphics quality to medium or lower. 16GB recommended.)
  • Jackbox Party Pack 8 Other party packs also work well!
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Set graphics and post-processing to low. 16GB required.)
  • Tomb Raider (Use Proton 7.0-4)
  • Completely accurate combat simulator
  • Two point hospital
  • Goose game without title
  • Unexpectedly
  • Vampire Survivors (may need to use public beta.)
  • Wingspan
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order
  • World of Tanks Blitz
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

You are welcome. If you have one of the Chromebooks listed above, you now have access to a whole new gaming platform and a host of great game titles. If you’re shopping for the holidays or just looking for a new device and enjoy playing games on your PC, now you know which devices will serve you best in the future. Remember that Steam on ChromeOS is still in beta and you may experience some hiccups. I have a feeling that Google and Valve will continue with extensive testing before moving this project to a stable release. Hopefully we’ll see it arrive in mid 2023. Oh, I didn’t forget Steam Play. Here’s how to enable Steam Play, which allows the Proton compatibility layer to play Windows-based titles on your Chromebook.

Activate for a single title

  • Click the settings gear in the game’s library list
  • Select “Properties”
  • Select “Compatibility”
  • Check “Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool”
  • Proton Experimental is recommended

Enable cross-platform for all eligible games

  • In the upper left corner of the Steam client, select “Steam”
  • Select “Settings”
  • Select “Steam Play”
  • Check “Enable Steam Play for all other titles”
  • Proton Experimental is recommended

We’ll be testing a few titles in the coming weeks and we’ll let you know how the experience goes. Keep your Eyes open. Read more about the Steam on ChromeOS project here.

#Chromebook #support #Steam #games

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *