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Steam games are officially coming to Chrome OS, but not your cheap Chromebook

Google, for the first time, finally confirmed what's been rumored for a long, long time.
By
March 15, 2022
Samsung Chromebook 4 half close back
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google finally announced Steam for Chrome OS is on the way.
  • You will be able to play games on powerful, high-end Chrome OS-powered laptops.
  • Little else is known about the service so far, as Google’s announcement was off-the-cuff.

Chromebooks and Chrome OS-powered machines are terrific for certain things. Browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, word processing, and even some light Android gaming are all great. However, one of their huge limitations is a lack of “real” gaming.

For the first time, Google has officially confirmed it is working on a solution to this (via 9to5Google). Steam on Chrome OS — a long-rumored feature codenamed “Borealis” — is officially on the way as an alpha test. Google confirmed the news in a pretty off-the-cuff way by casually putting the announcement into a slide during a Games Developer Summit presentation (see the slide below).

Unfortunately, the off-the-cuff nature of the “announcement” means we know little else about Steam for Chrome OS. We do, however, have quite a few rumors to work with.

Steam on Chrome OS: What to expect?

Based on leaks and rumors, we are fairly certain you won’t be able to use a budget Chromebook for Steam on Chrome OS. Allegedly, you’ll need at least the following specs:

  • 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor
  • 7GB of RAM

Most Chromebooks on the market do not meet those specs. That means you’ll need to get a more premium Chromebook to enjoy Steam on Chrome OS. Of course, this will beget the question of why would someone buy an expensive Chromebook for Steam access and not just buy a Windows-based system for native support?

Theoretically, requirements for Steam support could go lower as the years go on. So this may be a situation in which Google gets things ready now under the assumption it will only see wide adoption much later.

There is no information on when we can expect the Steam for Chrome OS alpha testing to begin. Stay tuned for more info.