Valve just released a new feature that lets you sign into Steam and check to see how many of the games in your library will run on the new Steam Deck handheld. I’ve ended up with a lot of games over my time in this job, from all kinds of genres and eras, so figured running the test on them might be a useful real-world indication of how things are shaping up ahead of the device’s release.
As of today (February 24, 2022 in Australia), I have 810 proper, actual games in my Steam library. That sounds like too many video games, but I’ve been doing this job for 15 years, which has involved a ton of companies/people sending me games to check out for impressions/reviews. They add up over time. It’s not like I’ve bankrupted myself in the name of grand strategy games and roguelikes.
Because of the number of games involved, but also the variety—most of these are games I’ve had to check out professionally, not the ones I’d be into personally—I was interested to see just how many of those are currently certified to be running, so I ran the test and got some surprising results.
Here’s how the test shook out. First up, the games that are 100% ready for the Steam Deck. Of the 810 games in my library, I had only 59 that were fully certified, ranging from NBA 2K22 to MGSV to Alien Isolation To Yakuza: Like A Dragon. I have no idea what Football Tactics Glory is doing there, and I think I would go blind trying to play Desperadoes III on such a small screen, but I appreciate that it’s working regardless.
Next up: the games that “are functional on Steam Deck, but might require extra effort to interact with or configure.” There were 66 in this category, and while many of them fell into the “you really need a monitor and mouse to play this” category (like Paradox games, the Football Manager series and Cities Skylines), there were others that players might have been hoping would be ready by now, like Assassin’s Creed titles and Skyrim.
Which finally brings us to the list of games that simply don’t work, and this is where I got my biggest surprise. I was expecting this to be an enormous catalogue of failures and dead-ends, but was instead greeted by just 23 games, because there’s actually a secret, bonus fourth category.
See, those are just the games that have been confirmed not to be working. Leaving me with 632 games that are just out there, untested. Maybe they’ll work, maybe they won’t. I can’t even see a list of them, so have to just work backwards via exclusion, but in this category are some recent big releases from EA (FIFA 22, Battlefield 2042) and Microsoft (Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5).
Maybe they’ll be working by release (early adopters should be getting their hands on the unit in a week or two), maybe not! I’m sure wherever there’s an absence of official data those pioneers will be testing everything they own and sharing their results.
Note that this isn’t a lasting record, or a criticism of the service or the platform. Like Valve says, the number of compatible games will increase over time via both testing and updates. The more users can share their experiences playing, the more we’ll know about how previously desktop-only titles work on a handheld.
And if you’d like to see some overall stats regardless, here they are; at time of posting 1084 games have been officially tested, with 399 of them being verified, 327 playable but with issues and 358 unsupported.
I thought this would be a helpful real-world example of the kind of compatibility results people can expect when they first get their hands on the first wave of units going out!