Several months after its initial alpha release, Google is expanding the availability of the pre-release version of Steam on ChromeOS. Now, a beta version of Steam is available on ChromeOS in the Beta channel, and on more Chromebooks than before.
By comparison, the alpha was only available in the ChromeOS Dev channel and to a much smaller set of devices.
“We’ve received thousands of gameplay reports from the amazing ChromeOS community and invested in improving the experience at every level of the stack,” a new post to the ChromeOS for Developers blog explains. “Today, we’re excited to announce that Steam on Chromebook is entering beta with ChromeOS 108, featuring broader availability, an improved user experience, and better performance and compatibility for more of your favorite games.”
With this release, Google is lowering the minimum CPU requirements to an Intel Core i3/AMD Ryzen 3, and all Chromebooks based on Intel 12th Gen Core and AMD Ryzen 5000 C-Series CPUs can join in. This includes the new cloud gaming Chromebooks from Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo. That said, Google still recommends Chromebooks based on a Core i5/Ryzen 5 or higher with 6 GB of RAM or more for the best experience.
To accommodate the usually low storage allotments on Chromebooks, Google has also changed the Steam manages storage on these devices. Now, instead of basing it on a game’s total storage need, it uses sparse disk and ballooning techniques to improve file access performance. Google promises a more detailed post about this in the future.
And for performance, Google has improved support for high-resolution displays, which previously incurred a big hit even when a game was running at lower resolution. But now the scaling system can better accommodate many more games on QHD and UHD displays, and everyone should see performance improvements regardless of the display type.
To get started, and see the full list of supported Chromebooks, check out Steam on ChromeOS Beta on the Chromium Projects website.