Steam Linux App now in beta and supporting more Chromebooks

It’s been a good few months since Google announced the launch of Steam Linux Alpha. It gave you the ability to install the Linux app created by Steam on your Chromebook, so you could play games locally. Because it was in Alpha only a few Chromebooks were able to use it, as you needed a pretty powerful Chromebook.

It’s still the case that you will have to have a decent-performing laptop to get the best from the Steam Linux app. That being said, now that it’s available in beta there are more ChromeOS computers that are supported.

Now that Steam Linux is in beta means you’ll no longer have to enter the developer channel. I’ve used the developer channel on a few occasions to check out Steam Linux Alpha. It was pretty stable to be fair, but it’s considered less stable than the beta channel. To try Steam you will have to enter the beta channel and ensure you enable the borealis flag.

How to install the Steam app on the beta channel

Once you’ve changed your Chromebook to the beta channel you will want to enable the borealis flag. To do this simply follow the instructions below:

  • Open a Chrome browser
  • In the address bar type chrome://flags and hit return
  • search for borealis-enabled and change it to Enabled
  • Hit the restart button to restart your computer
borealis-enabled ChromeOS flag
Change the flag showing above from Default to Enabled

Once your Chromebook has restarted the above flag will now be enabled on your system. You can then install Steam provided your Chromebook is supported.

Chromebooks supported by Steam Linux beta

The list of devices that are now supported has increased. This is great news if you were unable to try Steam Linux Alpha because you did not own the selected few devices that were previously supported. Below is a list of all the ChromeOS devices now supported by Steam Linux beta.

This new list also includes the three new cloud-gaming Chromebooks recently announced by Google.

Installing Steam

Before you install Steam you will need to ensure you have switched to the beta channel. Once you’ve done that installing Steam is easier than it was when it was in Alpha. Providing you have switched to the beta channel and followed the instructions above to enable the borealis flag. You can then install Steam directly from your ChromeOS App launcher.

Your ChromeOS App launcher is the menu that you access from the bottom left of your ChromeOS desktop. Open that menu and you will see a search bar at the top, which is where you should search for Steam. You should then see a list of results for Steam, and you want to click on the top search result.

The installation process for Steam should now start. Follow the instructions until Steam has been installed on your Chromebook. You can then log in to Steam using your User ID and password.

Games the ChromeOS team has tried and work

The list of games below has been tried by the ChromeOS team and they’ve had relatively decent success at playing these games. It’s still the case that you may get some errors, and I’d recommend giving feedback on any errors that you find. This will help Steam and the team at ChromeOS iron out any errors still being reported.

GameTips and Known Issues
A Short Hike
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition
ASTRONEER
Baba Is You
Besiege
Bloons TD 6
Bloons TD Battles 2
CARRION
Celeste
Core Keeper
Cult of the Lamb
Cultist Simulator
Cuphead
DARK SOULS™: REMASTERED
Darkest Dungeon®
Dead Cells
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
Dicey Dungeons
Disco ElysiumLong load time on initial launch
Dishonored
Disney Dreamlight Valley
Divinity: Original Sin 2Set Graphics Quality Preset to Medium or lower
Dome Keeper
Don’t Starve Together
DOOM
Dorfromantik
Enter the Gungeon
Escape Simulator
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Factorio
Fallout 4Set graphics quality to medium or lower. 16GB recommended
Farm Together
Fishing Planet
Football Manager 2022
For The King
Gang Beasts
Geometry Dash
Grim Dawn
Gunfire Reborn
HadesSelect default version at launch
Half-Life 2
Hearts of Iron IV
Hollow Knight
Human: Fall FlatSet Advanced Video to Medium or lower
Inscryption
Into the Breach
Katamari Damacy REROLL
Kerbal Space Program
Killer Queen Black
Left 4 Dead 2
Loop Hero
Mini Metro
Mirror’s Edge
Monster Train
Muck
Northgard
OCTOPATH TRAVELER
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
Overcooked! 2
Oxygen Not Included
Papers, Please
PAYDAY 2
Portal 2
Prey
Project Zomboid
Return of the Obra Dinn
RimWorld
RISK: Global Domination
Shatter Remastered Deluxe
Shop Titans
Sid Meier’s Civilization V
Slay the Spire
Slime Rancher
STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™
Stardew Valley
Stellaris
Stormworks: Build and Rescue
Stumble Guys
Subnautica
SUPERHOT
Tabletop Simulator
Team Fortress 2Disable multicore rendering (Options > Graphics > Advanced)
Terraria
Tetris® Effect: Connected
The Battle of Polytopia
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special EditionSet graphics quality to medium or lower. 16GB recommended.
The Jackbox Party Pack 8Other party packs work well too!
The Witcher 3: Wild HuntSet graphics and postprocessing to low. 16GB required.
Tomb RaiderUse Proton 7.0-4
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
TUNIC
Two Point Hospital
Untitled Goose Game
Unturned
Vampire SurvivorsMay need to use public beta.
Wingspan
Wolfenstein: The New Order
World of Tanks Blitz
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

Steam Games

When you log in to your Steam account all of the games you have previously bought will be available to play. Some of these games may be compatible with Linux. If this is the case you can try installing these locally and check out whether the game works on your Chromebook.

If the game was originally made for Microsoft Windows and a Linux version isn’t available. Then you will need to use Proton, which is a compatibility tool that allows you to play Windows games on a Linux platform. I’ve used this for games when I’ve had issues, and it’s a case of trial and error.

There are different Proton types you can use, but it’s recommended to try Proton Experimental first. If a game doesn’t work with Proton experimental I would strongly suggest searching Google and checking if anyone has had success with a particular game and what Proton version they installed. For more information check out this article on chromium.org.

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