How to install Steam on a Chromebook: Play Steam games

Key Takeaways

  • Steam for ChromeOS was announced in 2022, initially limited to alpha access. Access expanded during beta, with simplified installation on compatible Chromebooks.
  • Steam installation on Chromebooks can be done easily through the Launcher or via a more complex process involving changing release channels and enabling feature flags.
  • System requirements include an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
  • Supported games include titles like Among Us, RISK: Global Domination, The Sims 3, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, and Magic: The Gathering Arena.


If you play video games on your computer, then you definitely know about Steam. It’s one of the most popular distribution platforms for the artform (and, no, we’re not debating terms here). For the longest time, it’s really only been a world for Windows folk with Mac and Linux users getting access to fewer games. Those with Chromebooks have lost out on the experience for years until only recently.

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So, how did Steam come about for ChromeOS, and how can you dive in?

Steam on Chromebook


Is Steam available for Chromebooks?

  • In 2022, Google announced alpha access to Steam for ChromeOS at Games Developer Summit.
  • Steam for ChromeOS moved to beta in November, becoming more accessible.
  • ChromeOS version 119 simplified installation, making Steam startup easier.

Yes. In 2022, during the Games Developer Summit, Google announced it would launch alpha access to Steam for ChromeOS.

It was a fairly closed program with only a select handful of models even being allowed to run the new software and a gauntlet of hurdles to get it up and running. Steam for ChromeOS advanced to the beta stage in November of that year, and it remains there as of this writing.

Since then, the initial installation process has been simplified and availability has widened out to pretty much any Chromebook that can meet some basic specification requirements. The rollout of ChromeOS version 119 has made starting up Steam the easiest it’s been to date.

Steam Chromebook

Pocket-lint

Can your Chromebook run Steam?

Google maintains an official device compatibility list, but it may be out of date as new capable Chromebooks launch from time to time. To be fair to the company, though, it does give out some loose recommendations for a minimum spec, and they are as such:

Spec requirements

  • An Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor
    • No specific generations for each is listed, but listed models feature 11th-gen Intels, 3000-series AMDs, or later.
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB of storage

If you’re in the market for a new Chromebook, it should be noted that these requirements are firmly met by any device in the Chromebook Plus range.

How to install Steam on your Chromebook

Easiest method

As we just said, the newest way is the easiest way, so let’s discuss that first.

  1. Click on the Launcher (◉) button in your taskbar to open the launcher menu and then enter “Steam” in the search bar.
  2. You should see Steam installer from the list of results. Select that item if you do. If you don’t, read on.
  3. In the setup wizard window, hit Install.

That’s it! You’re able to open Steam right from when the installation completes and then, after a prerequisite software update (which you’ll need to be connected to the internet for), you’ll be able to log into your Steam account as on any other device.

Alternative (harder) method

If you didn’t find the Steam installer app from the get-go, no worries: you’ll still be able to run Steam if you have a compatible device, but you’ll also need to jump through a bunch of hoops to do so.

First, you’ll need to switch to a non-stable release channel for ChromeOS. You do that thusly:

  1. Access system settings by opening Settings from your launcher menu or selecting the time in your taskbar and then the gear icon in the quick actions menu.
  2. On the left-side pane, click on About ChromeOS – this is where you can find the version number of your instance of ChromeOS. After that, hit Additional details.
  3. Press the Change channel button and select a different release channel. The Beta channel is the safest choice, relatively speaking. Press Change channel again.
  4. Head back to the About ChromeOS page where you may notice a software update awaiting you. Once it has installed, restart your device.

Once you’ve switched channels, you’ll need to enable the Steam Installer by triggering feature flags in Chrome:

  1. Open a Chrome browser window, then enter chrome://flags
  2. Search for the Borealis Enabled flag. Change its status from Default to Enabled. Restart your device.

From this point on, you’re able to proceed by following the instructions we mentioned at the start of this section. Keep in mind that if you ever want or need to switch back to ChromeOS’s Stable release channel, your device will need to undergo a Powerwash.

If you’re curious, the simplified installation process is available to any compliant Chromebook running ChromeOS 119 or later.

Sims 3

Pocket-lint

Which games can you play on Steam for Chromebooks?

Google has issued some guidance as to which games its developer team has tested and can guarantee an acceptable level of performance, but you’ll find many more games you’ll be able to install.

As a rule of thumb, most 2D titles will run fast and smooth and simpler 3D titles will do the same.

Supported games

A few notables include:

You might even be able to get away with some more intense titles if you’re able to cut down on particle effects and other advanced settings. Google has yet to embrace discrete GPUs in Chromebook designs, so you’ll need to keep that hard ceiling in mind as you manage your expectations. That said, I’ve personally been able to finagle Overwatch 2 into a somewhat playable state on an HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, so who knows what untapped potential you might find?

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When will Steam officially release for Chromebooks?

  • Still in beta, but accessible via a Stable channel
  • No official release date yet

Google has not committed to a timeline on when it will bring Steam for ChromeOS out of beta. Still, with Steam access now available from the Stable channel, we take it that we’re getting pretty close to a safe, workable, and thoroughly enjoyable product.

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Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.