The announcement of the Steam Deck has certainly got people talking, and immediately speculating about which favourite PC games they'll start playing out and about. But whether Steam Deck will give you access to every game in the Steam library is a question that you might want to think about. Because the reality is, there are some question marks at this stage, as to whether this will be the case. Here's what we know.
Can you play all Steam games on Steam Deck?
To answer this question, it's worth having a quick explore of the OS that drives the Steam Deck. While Valve say the Steam Deck is a PC, it runs a custom SteamOS, which is itself underpinned by Linux. This is important. At the moment, only around 15% of all Steam games are available on a Linux OS. But that's not the whole story.
One feature of Steam Deck is that it will allow you to install third-party software and operating systems. So this means you can install Windows, and then get access to thousands of games that wouldn't otherwise be available. You could also, in theory, enjoy Xbox Game Pass.
The potential fly-in-the-ointment comes on games that run with anti-cheat software installed. At the moment, these games will not work on Linux, so lots of big titles may not work on the Steam Deck. This includes some of the most popular games on Steam - Destiny 2, PUBG, or Apex Legends, for instance. Valve have confirmed that this is something they are hoping to resolve before the Steam Deck launches, however.
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What games can Steam Deck run?
With that caveat, what games can Steam Deck run? Well, just about anything else. The idea is that once you've logged into Steam Deck, your entire Steam Library will be available to you. And essentially, anything you can play on Windows, you can (in theory) play on Steam Deck.
So as we mentioned above, this might include games from Xbox Game Pass, as well as games from the Steam library. All in all, and assuming the anti-cheat issue is resolved, Steam Deck should give you access to an incredibly wide selection of games to pick from.
We'll wait to see whether they manage to iron out that particular wrinkle by the time it launches. But if you have your heart set on specific titles on day one, it's worth checking to see whether they run anti-cheat software. If so, then you'll need to wait for Valve to get the issue fixed.
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Essentially, you have the potential to play any game as a Steam Deck game. As long as it's on PC, even through emulation, and Valve's handheld has the grunt to run it, the library possibilities are endless.