The alpha version of Steam for Chromebooks that Google announced last week is now available on the Chrome OS Dev Channel. As of today, only seven Chromebook models from Acer, Asus, HP, and Lenovo are supported, with Google planning to add more devices in the future.
“Because many games have high performance demands, we’ve focused our efforts thus far on a set of devices where more games can run well,” Google explained on an FAQ. The list of eligible devices all feature Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 processors, Iris Xe Graphics, and at least 8GB of RAM, though Google noted that devices with 8GB of RAM or with display resolutions greater than 1080p may encounter issues.
Since Chrome OS is based on Linux, Steam on Chrome OS will run the Linux version of a PC game when it’s available. Otherwise, Chromebook users will also be able to play Windows games via Steam Play, which leverages the same Proton compatibility layer that Valve uses on its Steam Deck handheld gaming device.
Google has provided a list of 50 games that should play pretty well on eligible Chromebooks, with some of them requiring Steam Play. The list includes a couple of blockbuster games such as Fallout 4, The Witcher 3, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Since most Chromebooks are cheap devices targeting the education market, it’s likely going to be a while before Chrome OS becomes a serious platform for PC gaming. Google has no ETA for when Steam will become available on the Chrome OS Beta and Stable channels, but the company said that it will “expand availability when we feel the product is ready.”