The Steam Deck received a resounding ovation from PC and console gamers alike, including us here at Reviewed. The handheld console is as comfortable as the popular Nintendo Switch, but with a significant performance boost, gamers can play big-name games like Elden Ring on the go. Because the Steam Deck is essentially a tiny computer running Linux, you can even get emulators to work on it.
The library, however, is currently the biggest deterrent to potential buyers. Valve is still working on UI improvements to its client to make it easier to see which games are compatible with the Steam Deck. Many of us don’t want to spend $500 on a Steam Deck only to discover that our favourite PC games won’t even run on it!
But don’t worry; once you know how, determining which games are compatible is a breeze. We’ll show you how to use several methods on both your Deck and your PC.
How Valve defines Steam Deck game support
Valve verifies games for Steam Deck by running special scripts and, on occasion, manually testing them. The game is then assigned to one of four categories by Valve: Verified, Playable, Unsupported, or Unknown.
Deck Verified games have passed all of Valve’s Steam Deck tests, indicating that they should not only run smoothly on the Steam Deck but also offer a satisfying gaming experience. “Valve’s testing indicates that these titles from your Steam Library are fully functional on Steam Deck and work great with the built-in controls and display,” according to Valve. You don’t have to do anything except press the Launch button to get started.
Deck Playable games will appear on the Steam Deck and should be mostly functional, but you may need to tweak or configure them to get the best experience possible. Input, Display, Seamlessness, and System Support are all requirements for earning the Verified seal. Using a 3rd party launcher, not being set up to work with a controller, not automatically bringing up the on-screen mouse and keyboard when needed, and having a default text size too small for the 720p display are all common issues.
Unsupported games have issues running on the Steam Deck, or they don’t run at all. You can see why the game received its rating by hovering over the game title and clicking “Deck Compatibility.” “Valve is still working on adding support for this game on Steam Deck,” it will say for many unsupported games. The game’s anti-cheat software isn’t configured for Steam Deck, it’s a VR game, or it simply doesn’t launch are all common reasons for earning the Unsupported badge.
Games that Valve has not yet tested are labelled as unknown or untested. Valve intends to test every game in its library, so keep an eye out for when the game receives its badge. For the time being, if you want to play an Untested game on the Steam Deck, give it a shot—just because it hasn’t been tested doesn’t mean it’s unsupported or unplayable.
How to check your existing games library
If you want a Steam Deck, chances are you’ve already purchased games through the Steam desktop app. We’ve outlined how to check your games on the Steam Deck and on your computer, using both the desktop app and the website.
Via Steam Deck
If you already have a Steam Deck, all you have to do is open it to see if your library is compatible. Great on Deck—also known as Verified—games are already separated from All Games by filters built into the library.
You can check the compatibility status of games that have not yet earned the Verified badge by hovering over their thumbnail in All Games. A symbol representing one of the statuses will appear in the bottom right corner of the thumbnail. Verified means a green checkmark, Playable means a blue I in a yellow circle, Unsupported means a greyed-out null symbol, and Unknown means a question mark in a dotted circle.
You can get more information about the game by clicking on it and then selecting Game Info. There will be a text box called Details under Steam Deck Compatibility. More information on why the game was given a Deck compatibility rating can be found here.
You can also use your Deck to check game compatibility on the Steam Store. By pressing the Steam icon and then clicking Store on your Steam Deck, you can access the Store. When you see a game you like, you can hover over it to see if it’s compatible, which is indicated in the top right corner of the thumbnail.
When you arrive at a game’s store page, look in the top right corner for a compatibility rating of Verified, Playable, Unsupported, or Unknown. A text box with more information on the game’s compatibility will appear when you press the blue button near the badge.