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

 Valve's Steam Deck promises the latest PC games on the handheld. But which games will actually work?

After the presentation, many users described the Steam Deck as a “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 is coming onto the market with a Linux-based operating system has sparked discussions about which games will actually work on the handheld PC.

Can you play all the games on the Steam Deck?

Valve had already explained 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.

Basically, SteamOS and Proton are so sophisticated that you can easily install all games on your Steam Deck. However, we recommend that you make sure that games offer controller support. Because the games on the Steam Deck are easier to play you don't need an additional mouse or keyboard.

Is there a disadvantage? The Steam Deck ships with SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system. The console is also optimized for this operating system. If you install Windows or something else on the handheld, programs or even Windows itself may not look good on the handheld.

In principle, you can of course stay with SteamOS. Valve has come up with something so that Windows games also work. Valve relies on Proton here, with which they want to improve the compatibility of the games in the long term. However, experts recommend not installing Windows on the Steam Deck.

Another disadvantage is the battery life: demanding games in particular use up your Steam Deck's battery very quickly. If you want to play AAA titles on the Steam Deck for several hours, you should have a power outlet within reach.

Proton is supposed to ensure that your games run on Linux

What is proton anyway? Windows games don't officially run on Linux. This is partly because Linux does not offer certain runtime libraries such as DirectX, which are preinstalled in Windows.

At this point, Proton would like to offer a 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 is the advantage? Proton offers you the advantage that games on Linux work without any problems and without you having to make any adjustments yourself. So you don't have to do anything until the game works properly. Valve writes about it themselves:

Games with anti-cheat now also work without any problems

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

There are now almost 20,000 games stored in the database, of which 12,000 games are said to be verified on the Steam Deck and around 4,000 are playable. Games like Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, or CS: Go even run natively on Linux.

A number of games that rely on complex protection mechanisms now also work. Games like Apex Legends, Dead by Daylight, and Destiny 2 have now been verified by Valve for the Steam Deck. This means that the games run without any problems or restrictions.

With Destiny 2, however, the developers warned: Anyone who plays Destiny 2 on a Steam Deck will be banned.

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 would develop functional drivers for users who want to install Windows on the Steam Deck.

This way you can also play games on the Steam Deck that are not supported by Proton. We can't yet tell you how good the performance is with Windows installed. There are no official tests or gameplay with a Windows version yet.

What do you think? Have you already pre-ordered the Steam Deck or are you not interested in the console?