Steam alpha lands on Chromebooks

After two years, Steam lands on Chrome OS.

Image via Valve

Google has finally brought an alpha build of Steam to Chrome OS more than two years after its initial announcement in January 2020.

Chromebook community managers announced Steam’s arrival in a post earlier today. While Steam is available for Chromebook users to test out right now, there are a few key pitfalls and caveats to consider. Steam will be available on “a small set of recent Chromebooks,” which immediately limits its audience for the time being. Another big issue that comes with the alpha territory is the inherent bugs. Google does not recommend using the alpha on a daily driver for work or school.

To run Steam on Chrome OS, users will need to have one of the following Chromebook devices:

On top of running one of the above Chromebooks, it must also be configured appropriately. Any model of the above that does not feature more than 4GB RAM or a CPU above an Intel i3 will not run Steam. Instead, compatible Chromebooks will need at least 8GB RAM, Intel iris Xe Graphics, and an 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 processor.

Google also indicated that Chromebooks with 8GB of RAM may hit a snag when trying to play games that require 6GB of RAM. Additionally, using a Chromebook with a display resolution greater than 1080p could cause “performance and scaling issues.”

Limited compatibility isn’t the only major issue early users will encounter when using Steam on Chromebook right now. Similar to the case of the Steam Deck, Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye are incompatible with Proton on Chrome OS, meaning most competitive games are off-limits. There are also some issues with DirectX 12 and input kinks to iron out.

Steam will also run Linux versions of games when possible and will employ Steam Play to use the compatibility layer Proton, similar to the Steam Deck.

These are the early days of Steam on Chrome OS and as such, expectations should be tempered for the time being. Users will more than likely run into some issues.

“You will encounter crashes, performance regressions, and never-before-seen bugs – that’s part of the fun,” Google said.

For more information, visit the Steam Chrome OS Alpha support page.