While Valve’s Steam Deck will be able to support modded games as well as virtually any software which is compatible with SteamOS’s Linux base, you won’t be able to play some of Steam’s most popular games.
While Valve’s Proton software, which the Steam Deck will be running as a compatibility layer to play a number of Windows games that don’t have official Linux versions, is very impressive, it’s not a universal solution to the problem of gaming on Linux.
In a report by ProtonDB, a database detailing just what Proton can do, it’s revealed that almost half of Steam’s top ten most played games aren’t available through the software. This means that unless something changes, you won’t be able to play Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege on Valve’s new handheld PC.
This is apparently due to conflicts with anti-cheat software which leave you unable to log into some multiplayer servers, however, Valve are committed to improving Proton’s compatibility, and the Steam Deck will also be running a new, and hopefully improved, version of SteamOS.
Thankfully it’s not all bad news for excited fans of the newly announced Steam Deck, as in an exclusive hands-on from IGN, they revealed that it’s possible to install a fresh version of Windows, allowing you to access the Microsoft Store, as well as all manner of PC apps.
There might be some conflicts with just what the Steam Deck’s hardware allows you to do, but it should be more than capable of downloading the Xbox app in order to play PC Game Pass titles, including using Xbox Cloud Gaming, to turn the Steam Deck into your very own Game Pass machine.
You’ll also be able to run mods on the Steam Deck, as confirmed by an IGN FAQ where Valve coder Pierre-Loup Griffais revealed that since the handheld is running the same version of Steam you’d see on your desktop, they’ll be the “workshop and all that built-in support for mods.”
The Steam Deck is available for reservations already, though you won’t be able to reserve one on a new Steam account until the last 48 hours before release to prevent scalpers from snapping up all the supply. Available for £349, £459, or £569 depending on storage options, the Steam Deck is expected to start shipping in December 2021.