Steam for Chromebooks has arrived. Well, sort of, anyway. Launched in official Alpha capacity at the end of March, the long-awaited “Borealis” project has finally arrived and is quite impressive for an Alpha release. The games run quite well for devices using non-dedicated graphics cards and after a few technical setup steps the whole thing looks very thoughtful and thorough. Of course, there are bugs that still need to be ironed out a bit, but we’ve been able to play some games from our Steam library with better results than ever on a Chromebook, and that’s exciting.
We originally covered Steam’s original Chromebook announcement and even showed it off in a video shortly after. We realized, however, that we hadn’t yet created a simple and straightforward guide on how to set it up and get it working on supported devices, so we wanted to make it available to anyone. who are looking. Below, you can watch the video and get Steam games running on your supported Chromebook with relative ease. You’ll need to make sure your device is on the current list though, so let’s check that first.
Steam on Chromebooks – supported devices
- Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W)
- Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
- ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
- ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
- HP Chromebook Pro c640 G2
- Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook
Keep in mind that these devices all have multiple variants, and you will need at least an 11th Gen Core i5 or higher to install Steam. This is due to the superior Iris Xe GPU which is part of the 11th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 SoCs inside the Chromebooks listed above. Trying this with variants with Pentium, Celeron, or Core i3 processors just won’t work.
Now that everything is settled, the process of starting up and running is relatively simple. You just need to follow these steps:
- On your supported Chromebook, switch to the Dev channel. (This is Dev Channel, not Dev Mode)
- After the update, go to chrome://flags#borealis-enabled and set the value to
- After reboot, open a crosh terminal with CTRL+ALT+T
- Type (or copy/paste) insert_coin volteer-JOlkth573FBLGA and press enter
- Follow the pop-up setup wizard to install Steam
- Log in with your Steam account, download games and play
Please note that to upgrade to Dev Channel, you just need to head to Settings > About Chrome OS > Additional Details > Change Channel then select Developer Channel. Your Chromebook will download the new version and prompt for a restart when ready. No data should be lost during this transition, but returning to the stable channel if/when you decide to return will require a full wipe of your device, erasing all local data.
Once you are updated, enable the flag and do the mandatory reboot. Open the Crosh terminal as described above and type the command given above or copy/paste it. To paste into Crosh Terminal, all you have to do is right-click to drop your copied content. Hit enter and just follow the prompts and you’ll have a brand new Steam install in minutes.
Once all of that is done, you’ll have the same Steam experience you get on Windows, macOS, or Linux. Log in and you can start downloading the games you would like to try. Proton (the compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux) can also be enabled, so you can head to Steam’s settings and enable it by doing the following:
- In the upper left corner of the Steam client, select “Steam”
- Select “Settings”
- Select “Steam Game”
- Check “Enable Steam Play for all other titles”
- Select a Version – Recommended: Proton Experimental
We hope this will get you up and running if you own one of the eligible Chromebooks on the list. This list is sure to grow, but for now the ChromeOS team can use whatever feedback you can give. Hopefully, we’ll see this land in a beta state in the coming months, and by this time next year, Steam for ChromeOS will be an integral part of the equation. We’ll get there even faster if those of you with an eligible Chromebook give it a try. So, do your part and go play some games!