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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Localhorst86

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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?
I didn't really follow the deck, tbh, so I don't know the full specs. I am not sure the unit is really powerful enough to render a VR experience, I only know people were hoping it would so they could strap the unit to their belt and have a decently powerful pcvr Standalone experience.
 

DannX

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It's a very nice thing for Valve to go out of their way like this. I still have my doubts about the Steam Deck but seeing them placing this much care, I'm honestly impressed.
 
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XDel

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I wonder if this means they are finally going to realize that some Steam games don't work for a lot of people, no matter what PC they are running. I.E. Aliens: Colonial Marines which only seems to relaunch every time I exit, and I can never start a game.

On a side note, it would be great if Call of Cthulu Dark Corners of the Earth happens to work (suddenly) under Wine. I'd love to have that game on the go!
 

The Real Jdbye

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That is not a small task. This is good. I expected people would have to rely on a user maintained compatibility list like ProtonDB.
From what I gather it seems like you have to click on the detailed information to get an idea of how a game will actually perform on the Steam Deck and the info is pretty basic. Wish they'd put more emphasis on performance and have a performance rating alongside the compatibility rating, with ratings like "Bad", "Okay", "Good", "Great" and "Perfect" because there are a lot of games that demand a beefy PC to run well or to be playable at all, that might still pass the compatibility rating on a technical level, while there are other simpler games that run locked at 60 FPS that would easily get the "Perfect" rating, it's more complicated than just being able to run the games without bugs or control issues. But that requires them to play through more of the games though in order to see how the games perform not only in the intro/tutorial but during busy parts.
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.
True but it gives devs real incentive to get off their lazy asses and fix that, assuming the Steam Deck sells well.
 
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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.
Erm...do I really have to point out for you that TF2 was built for keyboard and mouse?
To me, this notion mostly means that a full green rating actually means what it should mean.



Personally, I'm more wondering how they'll tackle specific cases. Like in Doki Doki literature club: over 90% or 95% is text prompt with an occasional mousedriven minigame...but there's a small section in the end where you have to mess with some game files. It's not impossible to do (it's just a bit different on linux, that's all), but I wonder if that'll affect the rating for this...
 
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RAHelllord

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That is not a small task. This is good. I expected people would have to rely on a user maintained compatibility list like ProtonDB.
From what I gather it seems like you have to click on the detailed information to get an idea of how a game will actually perform on the Steam Deck and the info is pretty basic. Wish they'd put more emphasis on performance and have a performance rating alongside the compatibility rating, with ratings like "Bad", "Okay", "Good", "Great" and "Perfect" because there are a lot of games that demand a beefy PC to run well or to be playable at all, that might still pass the compatibility rating on a technical level, while there are other simpler games that run locked at 60 FPS that would easily get the "Perfect" rating, it's more complicated than just being able to run the games without bugs or control issues. But that requires them to play through more of the games though in order to see how the games perform not only in the intro/tutorial but during busy parts.
Rock paper shotgun had the same question and asked it to Greg Coomer and Lawrence Yang, who then said they're only giving verified if the default settings are good for at least a solid 30fps.

Article: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/steam-deck-compatibility-interview
How does the review process judge general performance? Presumably a game wouldn’t get Verified status if it ran at 12fps on its lowest settings.


Our team is primarily testing for a good experience on default settings. In terms of framerate, the floor is a minimum of 30fps to meet the Verified bar. To make this easier to target for developers, we've provided an API that allows them to tell whether their title is running on Steam Deck - so they can adjust default settings as needed.
 

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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.

TBH I‘m expecting some jankiness due to Steam OS/Proton alone.

I haven’t used Proton but WINE for Mac has given me some issues in the past, even something minor like Notepad++ not closing properly in certain scenarios so I have to force close it.
 

The Real Jdbye

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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.
I find "mouse-like joystick" works pretty well with the sensitivity jacked up, I often don't want to bother setting up keyboard mappings, I just want to play, and not knowing if the game supports KB/M and controller inputs simultaneously I just leave it on mouse-like joystick to save myself the hassle and get into the game quicker. It's a bit frustrating when I want to turn rapidly and I can't, but doesn't matter so much for most of the games I play.
 

tech3475

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i thought this is a normal PC. Why wouldnt it be compatible....

I imagine it comes down to things like:
1) Steam OS uses Linux/Proton
2) Not all games are designed for controllers
3) The Steam Deck’s other hardware/software features e.g. On Screen Keyboard, screen resolution, SoC spec, etc.
 
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MetoMeto

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I imagine it comes down to things like:
1) Steam OS uses Linux/Proton
2) Not all games are designed for controllers
3) The Steam Deck’s other hardware/software features e.g. On Screen Keyboard, screen resolution, SoC spec, etc.
I got you at Linux.... It all makes sense now.
Well since windows could be installed there should be no problems than!
 

tech3475

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I got you at Linux.... It all makes sense now.
Well since windows could be installed there should be no problems than!

One cost to installing Windows may be…the cost (well depending on what you’re willing to do of course ;) ).

In my case I fortunately happen to have a spare Windows license lying around.
 

RAHelllord

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I got you at Linux.... It all makes sense now.
Well since windows could be installed there should be no problems than!
Windows has a larger overhead (mostly bloat from the OS and all the other crap running in the background) and would require proper drivers for GPU and CPU to function at an optimal level. Though Valve has said they're working together with both AMD and Microsoft to ensure Windows 11 will run as smooth as possible on the Steam Deck.
 
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Xzi

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That is not a small task. This is good. I expected people would have to rely on a user maintained compatibility list like ProtonDB.
I'm guessing they will pull some of the ratings from ProtonDB to the new system, assuming they're recent enough. Though Proton will surely receive at least a few more updates before the release of Steam Deck, at which point anything below "verified" will have to be checked again.

I find "mouse-like joystick" works pretty well with the sensitivity jacked up, I often don't want to bother setting up keyboard mappings, I just want to play, and not knowing if the game supports KB/M and controller inputs simultaneously I just leave it on mouse-like joystick to save myself the hassle and get into the game quicker. It's a bit frustrating when I want to turn rapidly and I can't, but doesn't matter so much for most of the games I play.
I mean, Steam Deck also has two touchpads, either of which could be used to control the cursor, AND gyro aiming which I assume could also be assigned to that via SteamInput. So most "playable" titles won't really present any big hurdles for the user, it's more of a motivator for the developer to tweak things.
 

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I didn't really follow the deck, tbh, so I don't know the full specs. I am not sure the unit is really powerful enough to render a VR experience, I only know people were hoping it would so they could strap the unit to their belt and have a decently powerful pcvr Standalone experience.
I mean the GPD Win 3 can do some VR, so probably the deck can do some more although the Win 3 and like devices have eGPU support, so they will perform better than SteamDeck
 

The Real Jdbye

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I'm guessing they will pull some of the ratings from ProtonDB to the new system, assuming they're recent enough. Though Proton will surely receive at least a few more updates before the release of Steam Deck, at which point anything below "verified" will have to be checked again.


I mean, Steam Deck also has two touchpads, either of which could be used to control the cursor, AND gyro aiming which I assume could also be assigned to that via SteamInput. So most "playable" titles won't really present any big hurdles for the user, it's more of a motivator for the developer to tweak things.
I was actually talking about using "mouse-like joystick" with the touchpad. That's how it's called on the Steam Controller.
Because a lot of games don't accept gamepad and mouse input at the same time, you're stuck with emulating KB+M with no analog input, or emulating Xinput with worse camera control.
 
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