What’s up gamers! A about a month ago I received my pre-ordered Steam Deck after a WHOLE YEAR of waiting, almost to the day. Now that the wait is over, discovering all the features the Deck has to offer has been both incredibly fun and somewhat challenging. However, what works well, makes the Steam Deck one of the coolest handheld consoles / mini PC’s I’ve ever owned.
One of the first things you notice about the device right out of the box is the sheer size of it. It is downright massive (for a handheld). In comparison to the Nintendo Switch by far the largest handheld gaming device I’ve ever owned. However, it has a really solid build quality and a unique texture that feels somewhat course in the hands. The course shell acts as a kind of grip for the device which is awesome. After starting up the system and firing up Doom Eternal, I was blown away by the system’s performance. The graphics were amazing and the framerate stayed locked in at 60. No other handheld system I’ve played preformed this well, and in some cases, I felt the graphics looked even better for some games on the Deck than on a regular monitor.
Not All Titles Are Verified…
The system runs its own version of the Steam app which makes it feel like a unique handheld console. Once you log into Steam, you then have access to your entire library, although you may not be able to play everything in your digital collection. Many games on Steam are still being tested and verified for use on the Steam Deck which leads me to my next point, and probably one of largest issues with the usability.
While there is a decent list of verified games that work great the Deck, there are still MANY titles that are not supported or verified. This is one the frustrating parts of this experience for me, as I was really hoping to try out games like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Lost Arc, and Outriders. The issue here is that these games run anti-cheat software that is not compatible with Linux and are unsupported / unplayable as a result. On the bright side though, more titles are being added to the verified list all the time and hopefully should you decide to purchase one, your favorite games will already be tested and verified. As an example, Halo Infinite was an unsupported title when I first started using my Steam Deck, and a little over a month later, it has now been updated on the list to playable.
While the Steam Deck is pretty straight forward regarding your Steam library, the rest of your digital games take some work to gain access to. Getting your Epic Games and Battle.net games to work takes some extra effort and I have still not been fully successful, even with the help of the Linux based Heroic Game Launcher (which allows you to run both Epic and GOG game launchers). Thankfully, there are many videos online that run you through the step by step process to download and install the launchers and run them through Steam, as well as the Steam Deck Reddit which can also provide support for new users.
If and when you finally finish doing all the set up and installation stuff for your launchers one of the coolest parts of the experience was being able to play those games from your other libraries as well. I have only had a limited amount of success here though and I was only able to run single player games off of the Epic Games launcher.
Unfortunately, I wanted to run Call of Duty Vanguard, and Diablo Immortal on the Deck and none of those Battle.net games worked, regardless of following the online guides precisely. This isn’t to say that it is impossible, since others have been successful with launching their games from Battle.net but perhaps I’m missing something. Perhaps it all has to do with anti-cheat software not being compatible with Linux, either way the end result was that I couldn’t play many multiplayer games in general on the Steam Deck.
Why The Steam Deck Rocks & Final Thoughts
Overall, the Steam Deck is a hefty piece of hardware that can run many PC titles with solid performance and decent battery life. While it is not perfect, I think the Deck is a huge step in the right direction for portable gaming. This device allows you to travel with most of your Steam library which was previously unheard of, unless you were bringing a gaming laptop with you and a controller. While this is still early in the life cycle for the Steam Deck, the potential here is enormous, especially for players and tech folks who really know Linux well. From what I’ve seen online, other players have gotten emulators to run tons of old school games, Nintendo Switch games, and recent titles all running with solid performance and in some cases even enhancing the visuals of the original games. This kind of open access for games is an awesome reason to own a Steam Deck.
Personally, even though I could not run a few of my favorite games, I found myself enjoying playing some single player games even more on the Steam Deck since they seemed to performed better on the smaller screen. Games like Metal Gear Solid 5, Spider-Man Remastered, Tales of Arise, and Power Wash Simulator have been amazingly fun to play on the Deck, and I found myself getting hooked on the smaller bite sized gaming sessions. Not to mention having the amazing option to run PlayStation exclusive games on a handheld which is simply awesome. Titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War (2018), and Day’s Gone all run well on the Deck and just being able to play them on a handheld was great since its the first time I’ve played those games away from a console or desktop.
If you made it all the way down here, I want to say thank you so much for supporting my blog. I hope my post has brought you some insight into owning a Steam Deck and possibly help you in making a decision if you were personally considering getting one. It has been a blast to run all these PC games on a handheld with such solid performance in a portable package. Again thanks for reading this post, I hope you have an awesome day.