How To Play Your Steam Game Library On AMD Ryzen-Based Chromebooks

hero chromebook steamos
AMD's got some pretty darn efficient processors these days. Some of its most efficient are the Ryzen "C" series used in Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook Spin 514. That happens to be one of the models that AMD specifically mentions in its new guide, titled "How To Play Steam Games on AMD Ryzen-based Chromebooks." Yes indeed: you can play Steam games right on your Chromebook without streaming or similar shenanigans.

The Vega architecture may not be as efficient or feature-filled as the RDNA 2 architecture used in the Steam Deck, but it's still quite potent. Your author here has spent many hours gaming on a desktop machine with Vega-based integrated graphics. Indeed, AMD notes that its partnership with Google has yielded a very simple setup script that can get you playing titles like Half-Life 2, Hades, Civilization V, Skyrim: Special Edition, and even The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

It probably won't look like this on your Chromebook, though.

Before you get too excited, make sure your system is up to muster. You'll need a Chromebook based on a Ryzen 5 5625C or Ryzen 7 5825C processor, as well as at least 8GB of RAM. This project relies on Steam for ChromeOS, and that project actually has a list of supported devices that you can consult to see if yours is capable.

Assuming everything's ready to go, the process is very simple, and not much harder than it sounds: you just install Steam. Don't use the Android store version, though; instead, you'll need to switch to the Dev channel (necessitating a restart) and then head to chrome://flags. In that menu, find the #borealis-enabled and #exo-pointer-lock flags and set them to Enabled.

Acer Chromebook Spin 514 Tent Mode
Tent mode could be pretty cool for gaming with a wireless gamepad.

That all done? Restart your Chromebook again, and open a terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T. Type the command "insert_coin" (without quotes) and press Enter. Congratulations, you're installing the real desktop Steam client on a Chromebook. Once the installation process is complete, simply login with your Steam account and start downloading games.

Much as with the Steam Deck, the app won't prevent you from installing unsupported games, but AMD says that it recommends trying games from this list because those are the ones guaranteed to give a good experience. If you have any trouble, there's a known issue list at the page just linked above, and if you don't see your problem on the list, Google wants to hear about it. Happy gaming!