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Google is testing Steam on cheap Chromebooks

Your cheap work or school Chromebook could get a little more exciting.

Published onMay 23, 2023

Set up Steam Link on Chromebook 4
  • Google is reportedly preparing to test Steam on budget Chromebooks.
  • This means we could see Steam on Chromebooks powered by Intel N100/N200 chips.

Steam finally came to Chromebooks last year as part of a beta program, allowing you to install the gaming storefront on your Chrome OS laptop. The app was limited to Chromebooks running recent processors though, namely AMD Ryzen 3 or better and Intel Core i3 or higher.

Now, Chrome Unboxed has uncovered evidence that Google is testing or will start testing Steam on low-end Chromebooks. The outlet found references to Steam being enabled for testing on Chromebooks powered by Intel Alder Lake N and AMD Mendocino processors.

Both of these chips are budget-tier processors, with Intel’s Alder Lake N series (e.g. N100, N200), in particular, powering a variety of cheap Chromebooks. So it stands to reason that we’ll see Steam coming to cheap Chrome-powered laptops at some point if Google’s testing proceeds smoothly.

No AAA Steam games on these Chromebooks

The outlet did express caution about playing even older 3D games though, noting that a mid-tier device like the Acer Chromebook 516 GE (Intel Core i5, Iris Xe graphics) struggled with titles like CounterStrike: Global Offensive. So you might want to temper your expectations in a big way.

This expanded support would still open the door to loads of less demanding and/or older PC games that could run on budget Chromebooks. So fans of old titles like Deus Ex or Half Life might be able to get in on the action. But there are also plenty of newer PC games with modest system requirements that might be able to run on a budget Chromebook, such as Vampire Survivors, Celeste, and the Spelunky series.