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Steam Deck might only be able to run 72% of the top 50 games on Steam

Since Valve announced their Steam Deck handheld console, questions have arisen about the amount of Steams huge library that the device will be able to run and it looks like, out of the box, it might struggle to run some of the more popular games.

As reported by Toms Hardware, a recent survey by the Boiling Steam website found that of the top 50 current games on Steam, only 72% can be played on Linux, either natively or using Proton, the compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux. .

While that’s not a terrible percentage, it does mean that some incredibly popular games like PUGB: Battlegrounds, Destiny 2, Rust, and Apex Legends can’t run on Linux and that’s not good news for Steam Deck.

This is because Steam Deck will be running its own Linux distribution, Steam OS 3.0, so it will only be able to play games that can run on Linux. For Windows 10 games only, that means relying on Proton. While the Steam Deck has garnered excitement from a lot of people (including us), Valve needs it to be a success, as some of its previous hardware launches (such as Steam Machines) have struggled to find one. Marlet.

If he is unable to play some of the more popular games, it might turn off some potential customers.

Why games won’t work on the Steam Deck

In a perfect world, the Steam Deck would be able to play all games on Steam, but that won’t be the case. As Valves Pierre-Loup Griffais hinted at in a recent interview, the hardware in the Steam Deck is powerful enough to potentially run any game on Steam.

But, as James B. Ramey, who worked on Proton development with Valve, points out, while the hardware can play any game, the software side of things is trickier.

This goes back to Valves’ decision to use Linux as their operating system. While this makes a lot of sense, Valve gets better control of the software and won’t need to pay Windows 10 licensing fees to Microsoft, which would increase the cost of the console, it means running some games will not be simple.

Proton is a great tool that is constantly improving and has helped many games coded for Windows 10 run on Steam Deck. However, some particularly competitive multiplayer games use anti-cheat software, which means they currently cannot be run on Linux, either through Proton or natively.


Analysis: don’t panic

Zombie hand holding a Steam Deck console

(Image credit: KinoMasterskaya / Valve)

So if you were looking forward to playing Destiny 2, or any of the other games that currently don’t run on Linux, on your Steam Deck when it launches later this year, should you be concerned? We do not think so.

As we mentioned earlier, Proton is constantly working on expanding the roster of titles it supports, and that will continue until the release of Steam Decks and beyond. This hopefully means that when you get one, most Steam games you want to play will be compatible.

In a Steam Deck FAQ, Valve also states that it is working with the developers behind some of the biggest anti-cheat software to “get support for Proton before launch.” If that works, it will hopefully make almost all of the top 50 Steam games compatible with the Steam Deck.

Finally, as Valve was keen to point out (including in the aforementioned FAQ), the Steam Deck is essentially a PC, meaning you can replace Steam OS with any operating system of your choice that includes Windows 10 (or Windows 11, for that matters). If your favorite game doesn’t run on Linux, installing Windows will hopefully solve the problem.

It’s that kind of flexibility that could put the Steam Deck ahead of traditional consoles like the Nintendo Switch.

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