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Can the Steam Deck play all Steam games?

The answer isn’t necessarily straightforward.

steam deck handheld
Image: KnowTechie

Valve, the company behind the massive PC gaming store Steam, has announced a handheld console that will rival the likes of the Nintendo Switch. The Steam Deck has a seven-inch display and is supposedly capable of playing many of today’s AAA games.

This will be Valve’s first journey into developing a standalone gaming system. The Steam Deck is built with impressive components, and Valve wants us to know that it is a full-on PC. The Steam Deck will come with an all-new Linux-based operating system, but the company has ensured us that we can install whatever programs we want on the device.

The fact that this handheld PC will is launching with a Linux-based operating system can lead to some questions about the device’s capabilities.

One of the biggest questions that have come up is, “Will the Steam Deck be capable of playing all Steam games?” The answer isn’t necessarily straightforward.

Can the Steam Deck play all games?

Short Answer: Yes, with help

As noted earlier, Valve confirmed that the users would be capable of downloading different operating systems, including Windows, to their Steam Deck devices. Because of this feature, all of the games on Steam’s platform will technically be capable of running on the device.

However, there is one catch. The Steam Deck will launch with a Linux-based operating system that is tweaked to work with the device. Installing other operating systems, like Windows, might mean that your device will have a user interface that is not optimized for handheld.

For that reason, it may be best to stick with the original operating system that launches on the Steam Deck. Thankfully, Valve has been working to make Linux a more supported OS for its games.

The company developed a tool called Proton to help games run on Linux, and it has already optimized many games for the Linux platform. You can check out ProtonDB.com to see if a game you are looking for is optimized for Linux.

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