Here’s Which Chromebooks Should Support Gaming With Steam

After being confirmed by a Googler more than two years ago, Chrome OS is now closer than ever to officially supporting games through Steam. 9to5Google discovered the first Chromebooks that should support Steam games.

When we first investigated Google’s efforts to play Steam games on Chrome OS, codenamed Borealis, all signs pointed to things starting with Chromebooks built with 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Of course, a year and a half has passed since then with no indication of when Steam would launch on Chromebooks.

However, things could finally be in the final stages of preparation. According to a developer comment from January, Google now has firm “timelines” for when Steam on Chrome OS is due to ship. It’s possible this is directly related to Google’s partner companies like Lenovo and HP likely working on Chromebooks with RGB keyboards marketed to gamers.

In a recently released code change, Google introduced an initial list of supported Chromebook models, along with some additional minimum specs they’ll need. For now, the list mainly consists of Chromebooks from Acer and ASUS.

Further down the code, we see that not all versions of these Chromebooks will work, as there are a few additional requirements. At a minimum, your Chromebook should have an Intel Core i5 or i7 (11th Gen) processor and at least 7GB of RAM. This rules out almost all Chromebooks except those in the upper-middle and high-end range.

That said, there’s still plenty of time for this list to grow in the weeks and months to come. Notably, none of the aforementioned Chromebooks with RGB keyboards are currently listed as supported. We’ve also seen evidence that Google has been testing Steam on older 10th Gen Intel Core processors as well as chips from AMD, each as recently as October.

Another interesting tidbit is that Nvidia appears to be directly involved in developing Steam support for Chrome OS, with several code changes developed and submitted by Nvidia employees. Nvidia was already ready to have a bigger presence in Chrome OS thanks to its collaboration with MediaTek.

At the same time, Nvidia has been actively working to allow Chromebooks to have a discrete graphics card – or “dGPU”, which is strictly for heavy-duty use – to be used exclusively by the virtual machine that will be used by Steam. Given that there are no Chromebooks on the current list that offer a dGPU, there are surely more supported models to be added in the future.

All told, it’s clear that Google has strong ambitions for gaming on Chrome OS in the possibly near future and years to come, including a whole new class of gaming Chromebooks on the horizon to better take Steam support. It should be interesting to see how Google manages to integrate Steam on Chrome OS into its broader gaming vision with things like Stadia and Google Play Games on PC.

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