How to Download, Install, and Play Steam Games on Chromebook

Download and Install Steam on ChromeOS

Steam reached a record high of 26.09 million concurrent users in September 2021, which is enough to explain just how massively popular and influential the game distribution platform is. Available for Linux, Mac, and Windows, Steam offers a wide collection of games spread across different categories and genres that won’t let you get bored even for a second. Although Steam is pretty much available on most desktops and laptops, is it available for Chromebooks too?

Perhaps this is something you as a Chromebook user are looking for, and here’s the answer. It turns out you can play Steam games on Chromebook. Read along for more on how to download Steam, install it, and play games on it on your Chromebook. 

Can You Play Steam Games on Chromebook?

The short answer is YES. The long answer is something you should be reading as well.

You can install Steam on Chromebooks, too, although the catch is, there’s no native Steam app for Chromebook, unlike its Mac, Windows, and Linux counterparts. This means even if you want to play Steam games, you will have to install Steam on Chromebook first. All you need is to install Steam on Chromebook, download/buy the game you want, and bingo, enjoy a gaming experience like never before.

How to Run Steam Games on Chromebook in 2022

How To Install Steam on Chromebook

So, after a lot of thought, you decided to run Steam Games on Chromebook in 2022. You need to install Steam on Chromebook, as mentioned before. There are three primary ways you can do it, so let’s check them one by one. Of course, these methods are doable but may not be the easiest, so do follow it word-by-word. If you are successful, you should use the Steam app on Chromebook either via Linux or Android systems or a proxy server.

1. Using Linux method

The first method you can use is installing Steam on Chromebook using the Linux method. Note that Chromebooks available for schools may not have Linux as the administrator has locked it out. Let’s divide this method into two. Skip the first part of your Chromebook already has Linux Apps installed but before that, let’s check if Linux is available or not.

Check if Linux Apps are Enabled

This is a pretty straightforward method. Here’s how you can do it. 

  • Go to Chrome OS settings using the clock area located on the lower-right corner and select the settings icon. 
  • Check for the “Linux (Beta)” section located on the left side of the screen. You can even search for it in the search field.
  • If you can locate “Linux(Beta)”, it is already enabled. If not, you will have to enable it (check out Part 1).

Enable Linux Apps

If your Chromebook supports Linux but hasn’t yet enabled it, here’s how you can do it.

  • Go to the system tray and tap on the clock area and proceed to a cogwheel-shaped gear icon.
  • Locate “Linux” and tap on “Turn On” against the Linux listing.
  • You will be prompted to install Linux (Beta) so hit “Install” and wait for the process to end.

Install Linux Steam App On Chromebooks

This particular step requires you to install the Linux Steam app on Chrome OS (that runs on Chromebooks). It can be a bit intimidating but believe me if you follow the instructions mentioned below word-by-word, you should finish this instruction and enjoy Steam on Linux without any hassle.

  • Press this combination of buttons – Shift+Ctrl+T that will launch the Linux terminal window on your Chromebook.
  • Proceed by typing the code mentioned below and hitting “Enter”.
echo ‘deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie main contribu non-free’ | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Next, type the command and hit enter –
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
  • Enter another command – 
sudo apt update
  • Next command is –
sudo apt install steam
  • When prompted to allot space, type ‘Y’ which denotes ‘Yes’.
How To Install Steam on Chromebook
  • A Steam license agreement will appear on the screen where you need to “Agree” and then, “OK”.
  • Steam will automatically update itself that should take a few minutes so don’t close the terminal just yet.
  • Steam will launch itself asking you to sign up or sign in. If you already have a Steam account, you can use “Login to an existing account” or select “Create new account”.

That’s the end. You can now enjoy the Steam Linux app on your Chromebook without hassle. It is as easy as it sounds. 

I found out that this is an uncanny and easy method to pull off. All you have to do is install the Android subsystem on your Chromebook, and you are good to go. Although it comes with its trove of limitations, it does offer a to-go option to play Steam games on Chromebook. It would be best if you had another computer to do this method. Here’s how you can install Steam on Chromebook using Steam Link App.

  • You need to make sure that your Chromebook is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the other computer I mentioned before. Also, you need to use the same Steam account on both computers.
  • Launch the Steam Link app on your Chromebook and sign in when prompted.
  • Next up, connect your controller that supports Steam that you can pair with the Chromebook. You can “Skip” it if you don’t have a controller to pair to.
  • Finally, connect your Chromebook to the other PC and you should be able to enjoy a seamless gaming experience right away.

Note that you can opt for WiFi, but I recommend using an Ethernet connection since you are about to game online, which means a good and reliable internet connection is needed, which is something part of Ethernet’s forte.

3. Using Proxy Server

This is another method that you can use to install Steam on Chromebook using the Proxy server. Here’s how it works.

  • First up, go to the System tray on the bottom-right corner of the screen and tap on it to go to “Settings”.
  • Proceed to the current network. Checkmark “Allow proxies for shared networks” or simply follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Next up, go to the WiFi network you use under “Internet Connection” and click on the network and go for its Settings.
  • Proceed to the “Proxy” tab and change the option select to “Automatic proxy configuration” that will prompt you to enter the URL or hit the “Use an auto configuration URL” instead. Enter the port number if you are correct, you should get access to a proxy server right away. 

Note that you can use a manual proxy configuration where you will have to feed in “Web Proxy Auto-Discovery URL” that comes with a tonne of information required, including HTTP proxy, FTP proxy, port, and so on. 

Once done, you can use any of the above methods to install Steam and enjoy the games right away.

How to Install Steam on non-ARM Chromebook

How To Install Steam on Chromebook

If you own a non-ARM Chromebook, the process of installing Steam is a tad bit different. Apparently, the Borealis project between Google and Valve allows Chromebook users to successfully install Steam on Chromebook by enabling an important “Point lock for Linux applications” chrome flag. Here’s how you can do it too.

  • Copy the code mentioned below and paste it on the URL bar –
chrome://flags/#exo-pointer-lock
  • Check if the “Pointer lock for Linux applications” has been successfully enabled or not. If yes, proceed.
  • Open Linux Terminal on your chromebook and copy-paste the installation script mentioned below. Assuming that you know how to copy-paste on Linux terminal (right-click on mouse to paste), here’s the script –

/usr/bin/curl -L “https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromiumos/platform/dev-util/+/master/contrib/gfx/crostini-steam-setup.sh?format=TEXT” | /usr/bin/base64 -d > /tmp/crostini-steam-setup.sh; /bin/chmod a+x /tmp/crostini-steam-setup.sh; /usr/bin/sudo /tmp/crostini-steam-set

  • Once Linux terminal processes it, you need to proceed further by locating Steam on the launcher itself. 
  • Type the command “steam” which should update all the packages before you are ready to open the app.

And that’s how you can install Steam on non-ARM Chromebooks.

What to do if Chromebook doesn’t Support Linux apps?

Not all Chromebooks support Linux apps which means if your PC lacks the support, you won’t be able to use the Linux Steam app anyways. Here’s what you can install Steam on Chromebook that doesn’t support Linux apps.

It turns out there’s an old method available called Crouton that allows installing Linux apps on Chromebooks even if they no longer support it. Here’s how you can do it.

  • The first thing you need is to enable Developer Mode on your Chromebook.
    • Press the ESC key and hold it along with the refresh and power button simultaneously.
    • Once you see the message “Chrome OS is missing or damaged”. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card”, press & hold Ctrl+D.
    • Press enter when asked to turn off OS verifications.
    • Set up the Chromebook after it has restarted.
    • Press Ctrl+D to restart and that’s how you can enable Developer Mode on Chromebook. You can disable it anytime using a different method though.
  • You need to open the Shell. Use Ctrl+Alt+T and type the command “shell” to launch it.
  • Next up, run the following code and hit enter –
sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 ~/Downloads/crouton
  • You need to execute another code –
sudo crouton -t xfce
  • After the process is covered, head over to the next command that reads – 
sudo enter-chroot startxfce4
  • Using Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Forward to cycle through the Chromium OS and exit the Xfce by logging out from the same.
  • You need to install Steam now from within the Linux terminal using the command mentioned below –
sudo apt install steam

Note that you have successfully installed Linux on your Chromebook that initially didn’t support the Linux app. Along with it, you have installed the Steam app as well, so you can enjoy seamless gaming without any hitch.

Play Steam Games on Chromebook with Ease

Follow the instructions mentioned above, and you can enjoy an epic gaming experience on your Chromebook, assuming that it supports particular games. Note that higher-end Chromebooks can handle a lot of games, although newer AAA games may not be too comfortable to play on most Chromebooks if not all. You can check out the configuration of your Chromebook and download games accordingly. 

With that being said, I have listed three methods you can use to install Steam on Chromebook and play games like the latest Battlefield 2042 and many others.

Posted by
Aadil Raval

Aadil is a tech enthusiast with extensive experience in the Android how-to and news spectrum. He is an introvert and loves exploring new things that could take him out of his comfort zone.

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