Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms and a very powerful digital distribution service. While Steam is officially supported on Windows, Mac and Linux, what about Chromebooks? It is possible, even if the experience is not perfect and there are a few catches involved in the process.
Read: What is a Chromebook and what can it do?
Can Chromebooks run Steam?
Does Steam work on a Chromebook? The short answer is: yes, it is possible. The longer answer is that it is not really a simple process, as there is no built-in Steam Chrome OS app. Not to mention your Chromebook may not even be able to handle Steam. Let’s dig deeper into the details.
Some of these methods require the use of commands and even more complex processes such as installing a new operating system on your computer. Avoid taking on these challenges if you do not feel very confident in such techniques.
Is your Chromebook powerful enough?
Chromebooks are known for creating amazingly affordable computers. This is because Chrome OS is not very resource intensive and manufacturers can get away with keeping specifications modest while still delivering outstanding performance. But it only works if you perform basic computer tasks with an affordable Chromebook. Do not think you can run powerful Steam games on lower-end Chromebooks.
If you use a Chromebook for gaming, we recommend that you first get a Chromebook powerful enough to do so. Some devices have more powerful processors such as an Intel Core i5 or i7 chip. Take a look at our recommendations for the best Chromebooks to find some of them.
Here: These are the best Chromebooks you can buy
Check if your Chromebook can run Linux and Android apps
Some methods used to run Steam on Chromebooks require you to use built-in Linux or Android applications from the Google Play Store. Not all Chromebooks can handle Linux and / or Android apps, so you need to make sure the one you use to run Steam on your Chromebook does. We have a handy list of Chromebook devices that can take advantage of Linux and Android apps, so check it out below.
Here: These are all Chromebooks that can run Android and Linux apps
How to get Steam on Chromebooks with the Steam Link Android app
This is the easiest way to run Steam on Chromebooks, but it has more demanding requirements. The Steam Link Chromebook app basically takes the gaming experience to all mobile devices (including Chromebooks), but it works by connecting to a computer on the same network. In fact, if you were to go this route, you would stream games to your Chromebook from another computer on your network.
This entails certain restrictions. To begin with, you can not take the gaming experience everywhere, as it limits you to the network you have your other computer connected to. This also requires that you own another computer, as you can just as easily play with the other computer. But this is a good method if, for example, you have a very powerful family computer at home and want to play from another room.
related: The best cheap laptops you can find
Just follow the instructions below:
- Open Google Play Store and install Steam Link.
- Make sure your Chromebook is connected to the same network as your other computer and using the same Steam account.
- Open Ånglänk app and log in to your Steam account.
- Connect a Steam-compatible controller.
- Connect to your computer.
- Games away!
How to install Steam on Chromebooks using the Linux app
If your Chromebook can run native Linux apps, you can also install the entire Steam Linux application and run everything locally. This requires a little more trick and knowledge, but it can definitely be done. Read the instructions below to learn how to download Steam on your Chromebook with Linux app compatibility.
Let’s start by activating Linux apps on your Chromebook:
- click System Tray, which is the area in the lower right corner of the Chrome OS UI.
- Select the gear icon to open settings.
- Find Linux (Beta) section.
- Press Putting on button next to Linux box.
- Click Install.
- A command terminal window appears when everything is installed.
- You are now ready for the more confusing part!
How to install the Steam Linux app on your Chromebook:
- If the Linux terminal window does not open, press Shift + Ctrl + T at the same time.
- Type this command, and then press enter: echo ‘deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contrib non-free’ | sudo tee -a / etc
- Then enter this command: sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386
- Followed by this: sudo apt update
- Finally, enter this command: sudo apt install steam
- Let the installation process be complete. Then get started and launch the app by entering the command steam in the terminal.
More: How to install other Linux apps on Chromebooks
You can install Steam on Chromebooks if you install Ubuntu Linux OS
Installing a second operating system in your Chromebook sounds like a big deal. If you have some technical knowledge, are willing to research and do not care about a challenge, it is a great way to have all the benefits of Chrome OS while being able to access a full desktop system from your Chromebook. You are not really replacing Chrome OS with Ubuntu. They can run side by side, making this a convenient option for games as well as other tasks.
Just remember that everything that happens to your computer when you do this is your responsibility. We can provide the steps, but you really should know what to do before following them.
First activate developer mode:
Keep in mind that enabling developer mode will clear your Chromebook. Not that it matters much, as most Chromebook data lives online, but make sure you back up all local data first.
- You must start in recovery mode.
- Turn off the computer.
- Press Esc + Refresh + power buttons at the same time (the combination may be different on some Chromebooks).
- Once in the recovery mode, press Ctrl + D.
- You will be asked if you want to “turn off OS authentication”. Press enter to do so.
- A warning is displayed each time you restart. Print Ctrl + D continue.
Now install Ubuntu with croutons:
- Download the crouton script from here.
- Open the shell by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T.
- Type shell and press enter.
- Write sudo sh ~ / Downloads / crouton -t device and press enter.
- The installation process begins. It will take some time, so let the computer do its thing.
When the installation is complete, you have both Ubuntu and Chrome OS available to you. It is now possible to switch between operating systems by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Back and Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Forward. You will be thrown back into Chrome OS if you sign out of Ubuntu. Return to Ubuntu by typing the command sudo startunity in shell.
You now have a Linux OS at your disposal. Just open the terminal and enter sudo apt install steam command to install Steam on your Chromebook.