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What games can the Steam Deck not play?

The Steam Deck certainly has its limits.

steam deck handheld
Image: KnowTechie

Valve’s Steam Deck is billed as a handheld gaming machine that can play all of your PC games in the palms of your hands. But considering its size, the Steam Deck has to have some limitations on the games it can play.

First of all, it’s important to note that Valve designed the Steam Deck playing games from the Steam library. It comes with a Linux-based operating system that was specifically built for the Steam Deck.

But the device is technically a full-blow computer in your hands, and you can download Windows, unlocking tons of games you can play outside the Steam library.

With Windows as your operating system, the Steam Deck’s hardware is the only thing stopping you from playing just about any PC game.

So, what games can the Steam Deck not play?

Short answer: There are hundreds of games that won’t work on the Steam Deck.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of games that aren’t going to work on the Steam Deck. It would be almost impossible to find and list them all in one place.

READ MORE: Is it safe to play the Steam Deck in hot weather?

First of all, the Steam Deck’s hardware will limit it to some degree. At best, it aligns with some of today’s lower-end gaming laptops in terms of performance. And that’s likely being generous.

So that means that some of today’s most graphically demanding games may struggle to run effectively on the Steam Deck. However, if you download Windows on the device, you can try any game that’s available on Windows devices.

On the other hand, the Linux operating system limited the Steam Deck out of the box. Valve built the OS specifically with the Steam library in mind. But there are tons of games on Steam that don’t cooperate well with Linux.

Thankfully, Valve provides a tool to help identify working Steam Deck games

screenshot of the unsupported on steam deck section of my steam library
Image: KnowTechie

To help identify which Steam games work with the original Steam Deck operating system, Valve developed a tool to identify which games are available. Check out that link if you have any questions about a certain Steam game on Steam Deck.

So to answer the question, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of games that don’t work and likely won’t ever work on the Steam Deck.

But there are still thousands more that you can play from a handheld device for the first time, thanks to Valve’s latest creation.

NOTE: SteamDeckHQ, in a tweet to KnowTechie, points out: “….be wary of the verification system for Steam Deck. It’s a nice starting point, but definitely not an indicator of what can run or not. A chunk of unsupported games definitely work with a little tweaking.”

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Contributing writer with a passion for gaming and tech. Probably getting wrecked by some kids in Rocket League.

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