The Steam Deck is an excellent handheld gaming console that many prefer. However, unlike the ASUS ROG Ally, it doesn’t run on Windows. Instead, it runs on Linux-based Steam OS. As such, plenty of games don’t work on Steam Deck. As such, you might wonder how to check if your favorite games are compatible with the Steam Deck.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to check if your games are compatible with the Steam Deck in simple steps. There are multiple ways to go about it, and we’ll highlight them all. However, first, let’s understand the challenges and how Valve solves things for its console.
How Steam Deck Runs Windows Games on Linux (SteamOS)
Before we dive into the compatibility checks, it’s essential to understand how the Steam Deck manages to run Windows games on its Linux-based SteamOS. It uses a compatibility layer called Proton, developed by Valve. Proton is a free and open-source project that allows playing many Windows-only games on Linux.
Proton works by translating Windows system calls into ones that Linux can understand. Additionally, Proton is constantly being updated to improve compatibility with new games. However, not all games will work perfectly with Proton. Some games may have graphical glitches, performance issues, or other problems.
How Valve Defines Steam Deck Game Support
To make the task of finding compatible games easier for the user, Valve has its Steam Deck game compatibility checker. Valve runs special scripts and manually tests games to determine how well they run on Steam Deck. Valve then categorizes the games into one of four categories: Verified, Playable, Unsupported, or Unknown.
Games that carry the Deck Verified label claim to have passed Valve’s checks. This means that these titles are fully compatible with Steam Deck and work great with the controls and display. Moving along, there are Steam Deck Playable titles. What it means is that the said game might have minor issues while playing on the Steam Deck. This includes the controller not detecting or functioning properly, occasional scaling issues, and otherwise jitters. However, while the whole experience wouldn’t be flawless, the overall game is still playable.
Then we have Unsupported titles. As the name suggests, these titles won’t work on the Steam Deck. However, if your favorite game has the Unsupported badge next to it, don’t be disheartened. Plenty of times, it means that Valve is working on adding support for it, so the title might become compatible in the future.
Lastly, some titles carry the Unknown badge. Essentially, these are titles that Valve hasn’t tested yet. So, you can try it to see if it works for you. Chances are that the experience might be bug-free, and it’s just that Valve has yet to complete all of its tests.
How to Check Steam Deck Games Compatibility
Essentially, there are two ways to check if your games are compatible with the Steam Deck. The first one is the official way through Steam. Secondly, you can find games compatible with Steam Deck using ProtonDB, a community-driven compatibility resource. Let’s talk about the official method first.
Method 1: Official Way to Find Games Compatible With Steam Deck
Step 1: Go to the Steam Deck Compatibility website using the web browser of your choice.
Step 2: Click on Sign In. Now, log in using your Steam account credentials.
Step 3: Once you’ve logged into Steam, the page will show you all the games from your library that Valve has tested and group them in the category as explained above.
Method 2: Use ProtonDB – Steam Deck Compatibility Checker
While the official method of checking if your games are compatible with Steam Deck is simple, it only shows the titles in your library. What if you wanted to check for a game’s compatibility before buying it? That’s where ProtonDB comes in.
ProtonDB is a fantastic community-driven resource that provides information on how well games work with Proton (and, by extension, the Steam Deck). Here’s how to use it:
Step 1: Go to the ProtonDB website from the web browser of your choice.
Step 2: Now, click the ‘Search games…’ option at the top. Then, type the game’s name you want to check the compatibility for and press Enter.
Step 3: You should now get a list of results based on the title you entered. Click on the result that matches your game name.
Step 4: And that’s it. You can find out if a game will open and run on Proton on the Steam Deck by checking ProtonDB’s ratings and user reviews.
It’s worth highlighting that ProtonDB rates games differently than Valve. On ProtonDB, there is a total of six ranks, namely – Borked, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Native. The way it works is that the higher the rank, the better the game runs on your Steam Deck.
Ideally, Native is the best option, highlighting that the game is built for Linux. On the other hand, Platinum is the best rating, indicating complete stability.
Apart from listing compatibility, there is another area where the community factor of ProtonDB comes in handy. Under each incompatible game, user comments will highlight exactly what doesn’t work and if there’s a workaround for that.
FAQs on Game Compatibility with Steam Deck
Not all games will work on Steam Deck, but over 7,000 games are verified or playable. You can check the game’s store page or ProtonDB for compatibility.
Yes, some unsupported games can work on Steam Deck. However, there is no guarantee that they will work perfectly. Some games may have graphical glitches, performance issues, or other problems. You can run the game on Steam Deck to see if it works. If it doesn’t work, you can always refund it.
No, Steam will not ban you for playing pirated games. However, if you add a pirated game to your Steam library, Steam may detect it and remove it from your library. That being said, it is essential to note that pirating games is illegal in many countries. If you are caught, you could face legal consequences
Valve has an official page listing all the games verified to be fully compatible with the Steam Deck. However, there’s no official way to check which games may work with slight glitches before purchasing them. For that, you’d have to rely on ProtonDB.
Enjoy Gaming on Steam Deck
By following these steps, you can easily determine if your favorite games are compatible with Steam Deck. Remember that while Valve’s official compatibility list is a great starting point, ProtonDB can provide valuable community-driven insights into how well a game works on the Steam Deck. So, go on and enjoy playing your favorite games.
Last updated on 04 September, 2023
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