Valve is reviewing the entire Steam catalog for compatibility with the Steam Deck



Ahead of the Steam Deck's release in December, Valve has taken on the mammoth job of reviewing "the entire Steam catalog" for compatibility with their new handheld gaming PC. While no specific numbers were mentioned, this presumably includes everything from AAA titles to the smallest indie games that anyone can publish on Steam. For reference, in February, the total number of games on Steam hit 50,000.

Valve's verification process breaks games down into four categories: verified, meaning it runs as intended on the Steam Deck; playable, meaning it may require some tweaks or less-than-ideal control inputs (using the touchscreen to navigate a launcher, for example); unsupported, meaning SteamOS can't run it or it's unsupported due to other limitations of the Steam Deck (all VR titles, for example, will be unsupported); and unknown, meaning Valve just hasn't tested it yet.

In order to be considered verified, a game needs to hit four major points.
  1. It needs full controller support, including appropriate input icons and an in-game keyboard.​
  2. It shouldn't display any compatibility warnings, and if it uses a launcher, users must be able to navigate with a controller.​
  3. It must support the default resolution of the Steam Deck (1280x800 or 1280x720), have good default settings, and legible text. (Valve does not clarify its criteria for "good" default settings.)​
  4. If running through Proton, all aspects of the game, including anti-cheat, must be supported by Proton.​

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 10.28.39 AM.png

The review process has already started, and will continue post-launch. The process will also be ongoing, as games will be re-evaluated as updates are released, either for individual games or for the Deck's software itself. Valve is currently working on a way to let users see the compatibility of their libraries before launch.

Valve also detailed how browsing the store and your personal library will work on the Steam Deck. When launching the store, the Deck will default to a tab showing games that are verified from Valve, though the full store will only be one tab away. When viewing the store or your personal library, games will have a small badge icon to indicate their compatibility rating. Regardless of rating, however, you're free to run (or attempt to run) whatever games you wish on your Deck. There was also no mention of limiting what games can be purchased from the Deck, though warnings about compatibility will be displayed. On each page for a game in the "playable" category, there will be a detailed breakdown of what aspects of the game may or may not meet compatibility standards.

compatibilityModal_tf2-english.jpg

Valve also appears to be updating their own titles to better meet compatibility with the Steam Deck, as indicated by a beta update for Half-Life 2 spotted by YouTuber Tyler McVicker. Since this is only a beta release there are no official patch notes, but it appears to fix some long-standing bugs, while also increasing the FOV to 110 and adding ultrawide support. In terms of Steam Deck compatibility, McVicker states that "the HUD is now unlocked, and scales perfectly to whatever resolution the game is being played at" which will help it fit the Steam Deck's "odd aspect ratio." It also now supports the Vulkan rendering API, which is likely being done as it works better with Linux-based operating systems like SteamOS. (Portal 2 also received Vulkan support back in February.)

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Sterophonick

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This honestly makes me somewhat nervous, with how a lot of games on Steam don't have support for using a KB/M and a controller in tandem, forcing the use of the awkward "mouse-like joystick." This'll probably lead to say too many games getting an imperfect rating.
 

Dr_Faustus

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That's odd that TF2 of all games would not be 100% compatible/verified to work on the Deck. I mean hell, its a friggin Valve game!

Here's hoping maybe they will have a tweaked version for the system, but that would mean someone in Valve actually has to care about TF2 first.
 
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relauby

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This honestly makes me somewhat nervous, with how a lot of games on Steam don't have support for using a KB/M and a controller in tandem, forcing the use of the awkward "mouse-like joystick." This'll probably lead to say too many games getting an imperfect rating.

Agreed. Also, with ratings changing as updates are released, I wonder how many games are gonna end up unrated when Valve stops prioritizing this program. I don't wanna be too down on them, but I don't really trust Valve to keep this going hardcore, especially if the Steam Deck underperforms, which is just gonna make the Steam Store look like a mess.

I'm also a little surprised they're not outsourcing any of this work to the community, the way they did with things like Steam Greenlight.
 

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Agreed. Also, with ratings changing as updates are released, I wonder how many games are gonna end up unrated when Valve stops prioritizing this program. I don't wanna be too down on them, but I don't really trust Valve to keep this going hardcore, especially if the Steam Deck underperforms, which is just gonna make the Steam Store look like a mess.

I'm also a little surprised they're not outsourcing any of this work to the community, the way they did with things like Steam Greenlight.
To be fair Greenlight did become a mess and was shut down by Valve.
 

Xzi

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This honestly makes me somewhat nervous, with how a lot of games on Steam don't have support for using a KB/M and a controller in tandem, forcing the use of the awkward "mouse-like joystick." This'll probably lead to say too many games getting an imperfect rating.
Games can still receive the green checkmark so long as they automatically pull up the touch-keyboard at appropriate times. It's only when it has to be manually pulled up by the user that they'll be dropped down to "playable" status instead.

Agreed. Also, with ratings changing as updates are released, I wonder how many games are gonna end up unrated when Valve stops prioritizing this program. I don't wanna be too down on them, but I don't really trust Valve to keep this going hardcore, especially if the Steam Deck underperforms, which is just gonna make the Steam Store look like a mess.

I'm also a little surprised they're not outsourcing any of this work to the community, the way they did with things like Steam Greenlight.
They've hired on additional staff who will be focusing specifically on this task. The icons also won't show up at all for people that don't own a Steam Deck, unless manually enabled.
 

relauby

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To be fair Greenlight did become a mess and was shut down by Valve.

True. I wasn't saying I wished they outsourced work to the community more, just that I'm cynical when it comes to Valve and kind of expected them to. Then again, they are making games again now and it seems like they're putting real work into the Steam Deck, so maybe they're trying to turn the ship around and they don't deserve my cynicism.
 
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TomSwitch

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Anyone feel steam should be obligated to make half-life 2 work?
1634739551829.png

Going to be full controller support or some mouse emulation? (deal breaker)
 

Localhorst86

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Makes since that alyx isn’t supported, isn’t it VR?
it is VR, yes. People were hoping it would be supported to allow for more portable VR capability (i.e. connecting your Valve Index to the Steam Deck instead of your PC) but maybe that's currently not in plans.
 
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Plazorn

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it is. People were hoping it would be supported to allow for more portable VR capability (i.e. connecting your Valve Index to the Steam Deck instead of your PC) but maybe that's currently not in plans.
Indeed indeed, however, looking at the site, they did say that you could multiboot, do you think the index would work if you had booted something like windows?
 

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This honestly makes me somewhat nervous, with how a lot of games on Steam don't have support for using a KB/M and a controller in tandem, forcing the use of the awkward "mouse-like joystick." This'll probably lead to say too many games getting an imperfect rating.
To be honest the current community keybinds for controllers are really good when playing something with Steam Link via Android on my Switch. To the point even when I added a non-steam game (GW2) I didn't even have to set anything up because there was already community controls. I get the feeling the vast majority of games on the Steam Deck will work an absolute treat.
 
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