After Android apps and the cloud, Steam is the third way you can play games on ChromeOS. Steam is now entering beta and supporting several more Chromebooks.

The Steam alpha launched in March on the ChromeOS Dev channel. Steam is now in beta and will just require that your Chromebook be on the Beta channel, specifically version 108.0.5359.24 and newer.

Besides switching to a ChromeOS channel that provides more stable day-to-day usability, Google is lowering the hardware requirements and tripling the number of supported Chromebooks. There’s now support for AMD Ryzen 5000 C-Series and 12th Gen Intel, while the minimum CPU requirement has been lowered to Core i3 and Ryzen 3.

That said, Google recommends “16GB RAM and an i5 / Ryzen 5 or higher for the best experience.” The new supported device list is below:

As part of Steam on ChromeOS going beta, the install process is just searching “Steam” in the launcher to start the updated install process when chrome://flags/#enable-borealis is enabled.

Power management improvements include showing low battery notifications when playing games in fullscreen, and “reducing CPU overhead in Vulkan and DirectX titles” to extend battery life. 

On the storage management front, ChromeOS has switched to sparse disk and ballooning for games that download content outside of Steam, while this improves file access performance for Proton titles. Existing alpha users need to uninstall and reinstall Steam to get these improvements. Meanwhile, when there’s an active game download in the background, devices will no longer sleep.

Speaking of performance, there’s now Vulkan 1.3 and initial DirectX 12 support to improve “how shaders are stored and persisted.” Google has improved its “scaling system so you can now performantly play many more games on QHD and UHD displays, and see the performance benefits of reducing in-game resolution on all displays.” There are several other notable updates to the Steam for Chromebooks beta:

  • Enable pointer lock by default (without the #exo-pointer-lock flag)
  • Improved handling switching between apps and full-screen
  • Improved keyboard handling; for example, the launcher key now works when the Steam client is focused
  • Improved window management support
  • Include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai fonts
  • Mouse cursor fixes

Google’s recommended games list now has 50 new titles with the full one below:

Major issues affecting the whole system should be uncommon, and hundreds of Steam games are now playable on a wider variety of Chromebooks

A Short Hike DOOM Left 4 Dead 2 Stardew Valley
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Dorfromantik Loop Hero Stellaris
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition Enter the Gungeon Mini Metro Stormworks: Build and Rescue
ASTRONEER Escape Simulator Mirror’s Edge Stumble Guys
Baba Is You Euro Truck Simulator 2 Monster Train Subnautica
Besiege Factorio Muck SUPERHOT
Bloons TD 6 Fallout 4 Northgard Tabletop Simulator
Bloons TD Battles 2 Farm Together OCTOPATH TRAVELER Team Fortress 2
CARRION Fishing Planet Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition Terraria
Celeste Football Manager 2022 Overcooked! 2 Tetris® Effect: Connected
Core Keeper For The King Oxygen Not Included The Battle of Polytopia
Cult of the Lamb Gang Beasts Papers, Please The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Cultist Simulator Geometry Dash PAYDAY 2 The Jackbox Party Pack 8
Cuphead Grim Dawn Portal 2 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
DARK SOULS™: REMASTERED Gunfire Reborn Prey Tomb Raider
Darkest Dungeon® Hades Project Zomboid Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
Dead Cells Half-Life 2 Return of the Obra Dinn TUNIC
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut Hearts of Iron IV RimWorld Two Point Hospital
Dicey Dungeons Hollow Knight RISK: Global Domination Untitled Goose Game
Disco Elysium Human: Fall Flat Shatter Remastered Deluxe Unturned
Dishonored Inscryption Shop Titans Vampire Survivors
Disney Dreamlight Valley Into the Breach Sid Meier’s Civilization V Wingspan
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Katamari Damacy REROLL Slay the Spire Wolfenstein: The New Order
Dome Keeper Kerbal Space Program Slime Rancher World of Tanks Blitz
Don’t Starve Together Killer Queen Black STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™ Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com