Steam Deck: Which games can you play on Valve's handheld?


Steam Deck: Which games can you play on Valve's handheld?

The Steam cover by Valve promises the latest games on the handheld. But which games will work at all?

After the presentation, many users described the Steam Deck as the "real" Switch Pro . Nevertheless, there are clear differences between Steam Deck and Switch , which we have already explained to you in detail.

Above all, the fact that Valve's Steam Deck comes onto the market with a Linux-based operating system had sparked discussions about which games actually work on the handheld PC in the end.

The question of which games will work on the Steam Deck at all is not easy to answer.

Can you play all games on the Steam Deck?

Valve had already stated that the Steam Deck should be like a mini PC: You should be able to install software and operating systems on the device as you wish and without restrictions.

In theory, this means that you can actually play all the games on the Steam Deck. In addition to Steam, you can also install or the Epic Store on Windows.

Some games are supposed to work better and others worse, but they are all supposed to work.

Is there any downside? But there is a catch, because the Steam Deck comes with SteamOS, an operating system based on Linux. The console is also optimized for this operating system. Should you now install Windows or something else on the handheld, it could be that programs or even Windows themselves do not look good on the handheld.

Basically you can of course stay with SteamOS. So that Windows games also work, Valve has come up with something. Valve relies on Proton here, with which they want to improve the compatibility of the games in the long term.

Proton is supposed to make sure that your games run on Linux

What is proton anyway? Windows games do not officially run on Linux. One of the reasons for this is that Linux does not offer certain runtime libraries such as DirectX, which are preinstalled with Windows.

At this point Proton would like to offer the solution. Proton was first released on August 21, 2018. Proton provides certain libraries and implements DirectX using the Vulkan programming interface. In this way, the aim is to significantly increase the performance of Windows games on Linux.

What's the benefit? Proton offers you the advantage that games on Linux work without problems and without you having to make adjustments yourself. So you don't have to lend a hand for the game to work properly. Valve writes about it itself:

The Proton compatibility layer developed by Valve enables games to be run without any loss of performance. With the help of third-party developers, Proton's game compatibility and anti-cheat solutions for the deck have also been significantly improved.

(via )

According to users, games with anti-cheat still cause problems

What games are running? Users have created an unofficial website called protondb, where users list the compatible games (via ).

Almost 20,000 games are now stored in the database, 16,000 of which should work with Proton. Games like Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 or CS: Go even run natively on Linux.

Which games cause problems? Especially multiplayer games that rely on complex protective mechanisms still cause problems. Some users complain on protondb that some games do not start with Proton because Anti-Cheat does not start or there are other problems. A couple of examples are around 

  • Apex Legends
  • Destiny 2
  • Dead by Daylight
  • Hunt: Showdown
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

All of these games have problems with EasyAntiCheat, BattlEye Service, or some other protection mechanism. The games either crash immediately or EasyAntiCheat refuses to work. One user wrote on protondb: “There is not much more to say, BattlEye does not work on Linux and there is not much we can do at the moment.”

An alternative is to switch from SteamOS to Windows.

Windows as an alternative to Linux on the Steam Deck

Valve had already stated that you can also install Windows on the Steam Deck. Valve and AMD had also promised that they wanted to develop functional drivers for users who want to install Windows on the Steam Deck.

In this way you can also play games on the Steam Deck that are not supported by Proton. So we cannot yet tell you how good the performance is with an installed Windows. Because there are no official tests or gameplay with a Windows version yet.

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