As it readies for the Steam Deck release this December, Valve has announced a compatibility program to let gamers know, at a glance, which titles play great on the system. The firm has hired an additional team of testers to accelerate this process, and is still expanding its labour force – as they face a big task with 50,000+ titles currently available via Steam. By the time the Steam Deck launches, games will fall under one of four categories; Verified, Playable, Unsupported, or Unknown.
In recent weeks we have seen Valve make some significant steps in helping more games run on the upcoming Steam Deck (as well as other Linux machines). However, it still rightly admits that “there are some games that, while they may be great on a desktop PC, aren’t a great experience on Steam Deck.” So, ‘Deck Verified’ will help alert gamers to titles that are great for playing on the portable right out of the box, others that may need tweaking, and some you should steer clear of for now.
As per the intro, there are four categories a person browsing might find a game belongs to; Verified, Playable, Unsupported, or Unknown. Each of these has a little icon/sticker, so you can see it at a glance in games lists presented by the Steam Store on Deck. For example a Verified game has a green checkmark, while an Unsupported title will have a little ‘stop sign’ in the corner. To get ‘Deck Verified’ a game must tick four boxes concerning; controller support, display support, system support, and the seamlessness of configuring and running a game (see below).
To help Steam Deck users select new games, the Store on Deck will include a “great on deck” category shown to browsers by default (see below).
Perhaps you have a favourite game, acquired before you got your Steam Deck, you might be interested to know why it doesn’t quite make the grade for being Verified, for example. Well, Steam has your inquisitiveness covered thanks to additional compatibility details for each game that has been tested. Below, you can see an example for Team Fortress 2, which has a ‘Playable’ rather than ‘Verified’ tag. You can see there are controller issues stopping the game getting a green checkmark at this time, but it wouldn’t be surprising for Valve to fix this soon, as it is a first-party title.
Valve will continue to keep its verification teams busy well after the Steam Deck launch, judging by the rate at which titles are added to its library. It must also take the time to re-evaluate games as they are updated by the publisher/developer to make its quick-check categories system useful / worthwhile.
In the UK, Steam Deck reservations are quite backlogged, so you will have to wait until Q2 2022 sometime if you pre-order now.