Valve Claims It Hasn’t Found A Game The Steam Deck Can’t Run

Valve Claims It Hasn’t Found A Game The Steam Deck Can’t Run
Image: Valve

One of the biggest questions hanging over Valve’s new Steam Deck console is game compatibility. While on the surface it looks like the perfect portable PC, the technical prowess of the handheld device has been called into question over the past week as fans began speculating about what games could or couldn’t play on it. Now, Valve is setting the record straight.

In a recent interview with IGN, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais claimed the team had been hard at work on compatibility issues, and they’d worked out the largest architectural barriers for the console.

“We’ve been looking at various games the past few years in the back catalog, but the real test for us was games that were coming out last year,” Griffais said. “They just couldn’t really run very well on the previous types of prototypes and architectures we were testing.”

Despite these challenges, it appears Valve has been able to address them well enough to create a console which can play most games available on Steam.

“This is the first time we’ve achieved the level of performance that is required to really run the latest generation of games without problems,” Griffais told IGN. “All the games we wanted to be playable is — really — the entire Steam library. We haven’t really found something we could throw at this device that it couldn’t handle.”

It’s important to note this doesn’t mean Valve won’t find games that can’t be played, but it does imply the company is satisfied with the performance of the games they’ve tested so far. By scaling down each game’s output for the Steam Deck’s 800p display and 30Hz display, it’s claimed the Steam Deck will be able to maintain solid, smooth gameplay for the vast majority of games on Steam — including recent AAA hits.

With a unique AMD Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU combo backing this hardware, it should be the gaming powerhouse you’ve dreamed of.

We’ll know more about the console and exactly which games will be compatible as we get closer to its December 2021 release. While Australians can’t currently reserve their own console (unless they use very tricky means), we can all look forward to hearing more in future.

You can check out everything new revealed about the Steam Deck by Valve in the latest IGN video showcase below:


  • We need to define “run” and “playable”.
    Just because it can run the game at 10 FPS does not mean it’s playable.
    I guess we’ll have to wait and see with real world demos.

    • Didn’t realise the screen was 30Hz….
      I guess Valve is trying to say that Linux doesn’t stop any game from running, but yeah, my definition of ‘running’ is that it’s playable.

      My other concern is text readability, many are excited for the machine as an Indie platform, but a lot of the Indie games I play are text-heavy and many require text input, which it will be interesting to see how they fare on this platform.

      • Correction, on re-watching they said their target was 30Hz, 800P, not that the screen was hard limited to 30Hz.

        I’m guessing the quad channel DDR5 will help the underpowered APU.

  • It’s a step in the right direction, but the console is far too heavy for me to consider it. I wouldn’t be able to use it for any reasonable period without rendering my wrist unusable for the next few hours.

    • Yeah, that sucker is huge. I 3D printed a mock-up based on the specs and it’s enormous, and the weight is going to build up the forearms 🙂
      I just want to stream my PC games to my Switch 🙂

      I’d like it if they made a streaming handheld that weighed half the amount or less.

    • None of the big anti cheat games do right now. But to be fair, this is the from the version of Proton that’s been publicly released, not whatever they have going on behind closed doors.

        • I imagine so, I mean the thing is just a PC, so install SteamOS on your own gaming rig for a comparison of how well linux runs your steam library

          One thing I’m concerned about though is… Exactly what GPU driver do I install =S

        • It depends.. some games run faster in Linux, but in general its the same or within a few FPS of Windows. Unless they have some new sorcery going, I don’t really think either OS will give you much of a boost in performance.

  • I see they have factorio in the first image. While I have no doubt it can run it, I doubt it can do so for any real length of time. My laptop doesn’t last long with it

  • Loads of games that can’t run via proton due to some obscure issue or whatever.

    Got a long list of them in-fact. Some games will run and have good fps but just crash/freeze allot, that’s more common then you think with proton.
    And you can bet your ass these games will have same issue on Steam-Deck.

    Perhaps Valve is talking about most recent games that have had more support thrown at them. Older games however, its a minefield of problems! Sometimes you can apply easy workaround or fixes, but not always.

    • To be fair, the version of Proton they have been working on for the Steamdeck might be further along than the Proton currently available to the public.

      But yeah, I’d be surprised if everything runs. I can’t get ‘everything’ to run on my Windows box 🙂

  • Probably worrying that their baseline is if it runs or not. Doom runs on a mac book touch bar, doesn’t mean you’d want to play it!

    To succeed it’ll probably need investment from developers in making “optimised for Steam Deck” versions, so that text is scaled, file size reduced etc, just being able to “run” a PC game on a handheld PC isn’t much of a boast.

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