As the Steam Deck’s December 2021 launch approaches, Valve is taking time to make sure gamers know which titles will work on its portable machine. While its site still promises “Your Steam Library, anywhere,” we’ve had an interest — and a little skepticism — about whether or not games built for PCs will actually work well on a handheld device that runs Linux.
The company recently opened up its @OnDeck Twitter account to highlight demonstrations of PC games running on the Steam Deck, and today it revealed the Steam Deck Compatibility program.
Steam Deck compatibility labels appear on any game published via Steam, separating them into four categories. The highest level, Verified, has a green logo with a check mark, indicating games that work “great on Steam Deck, right out of the box.”
The next step down is a yellow exclamation mark for playable, meaning you may need to tweak settings manually to make it work. The other two marks are for games that are either unsupported on the Steam Deck or simply unknown because they haven’t been tested yet.
Verified games work with the on-screen keyboard, support the Steam Deck’s native resolution, fully support its OS, and you can navigate their menus with a controller. The first page of its built-in store will only show Verified games, but you can still browse or search through the entire store.
Valve also has information for developers to verify that their games support the portable PC and steps so anyone can submit their titles for review. “Important” games may be reviewed even if they aren’t manually submitted, and developers can submit titles for review before they’re released. One thing to note is that even if a developer thinks their game isn’t a good fit for the Steam Deck, there’s no way to hide it from the machine’s built-in store. Valve says that “rather than completely restricting access to some products, we want to enable customers to find the right products given their specific goals and desires.”
For PC games, compatibility and configuration across a wide range of devices are always strengths and weaknesses. Everything from special control schemes to anti-cheat software could cause things to go awry, and it’s good to see Valve proactively taking steps to help owners know what titles will work right away. Now we just need to see which games don’t pass the test.