We have been covering this topic for a long time, and Google has finally admitted that Steam is on its way to ChromeOS. Short of an actual release, it’s a confirmation, validating one of our predictions for 2021, albeit a little late. It all happened during the Google for Games Developer Summit, shown in one of the slides without too much of specific comments about it:
It was then following by an official post on Google support groups:
Hello Chromebook Community,
As you may have already heard, our team is working with Valve to bring Steam to Chrome OS. We are very excited to share that we’ll be landing an early, alpha-quality version of Steam on Chrome OS in the Dev channel for a small set of Chromebooks coming soon. Please come back to the forum for more information!
A small set of Chromebooks? Well, we have heard that Steam will require some specific Chromebooks to work, and so far the following models have been listed as compatible on 9to5google:
- Volta – Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1H)
- Volet – Acer Chromebook 515
- Voxel – Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
- Delbin – ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
- Drobit – ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
- Elemi – HP Pro c640 G2 Chromebook
- Lindar – Unknown/unreleased Chromebook from Lenovo
There also seems to be the following requirements as well:
At a minimum, your Chromebook needs to have an (11th gen) Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a minimum of 7 GB of RAM
This will make Steam unlikely to run on the large majority of current Chromebooks out there, at least in the beginning.
So that’s about all we know for now. If you are interested in this topic, don’t miss our last discussion with Luke Short who’s the go-to person when it comes to running Steam on Chromebooks (even before official Google support). Talking about Luke, he has also released WinesapOS to run an upgraded version of SteamOS (taking inspiration from the SteamOS 3 image for the Deck) on virtually any x86 computer/laptop (including Macs) from an external drive (such as USB stick).
If you want to test run SteamOS 3 before it comes out, WinesapOS may be the closest to the real thing for now.
Back to ChromeOS: even if it looks like the impact won’t be felt any time soon market-wise, the fact that Google is going to be using the Steam Linux client is making the Linux ecosystem stronger once again: now Google will have a vested interest as well to ensure as many games as possible run on Linux, whether natively or via Proton.