The Steam Deck is a great success story so far in 2022. Great design, frequent firmware updates, lots of games for the platform… but is the picture as rosy as it sounds? Actually, not many people may have noticed, but there’s clearly something happening with the number of Steam Deck verified titles over time. It’s going down, percentage-wise. Don’t believe me? Here’s a visualization of all titles added until now, and their category in a given week.
As you can see, we used to have somewhere between 50 and 60% of Steam Deck verified games up until March-April or so. But overall, the trend is very, very clear: the ratio has been going down and down week after week. We can ignore the last week in July for now, since it’s not completed yet, but the previous weeks clearly show that there’s only about 30% of Steam Deck Verified titles. The Playable ones are now clearly the majority, and it’s no surprise that just 6 weeks ago the number of Playable titles on the Deck has passed the number of Steam Deck Verified titles.
So, what do you make of this?
Ratings are more accurate?
That’s one possibility. Ratings may have been less reliable at the very beginning, and therefore the adjustment has been made to favor Playable vs Verified, since additional flaws may be detected now in the validation process on Valve’s side. Still, that would not account for the ongoing decrease of the past 2 months!
Older games make it to the list?
As more, and older titles make it to the list, it’s possible that those are less likely to run perfectly on the Deck, especially when it comes to text size and controls.
Less focus from developers to go the extra mile?
That’s another potential factor. We have heard a lot of stories about developers making some adjustments for the Steam Deck around the time when it was released. Nowadays, it seems to be less common, or at least it draws less attention. As the hype around the Steam Deck dies down, it’s possible that the intent for devs to do any extra work goes down, too.
Impact of User-driven ratings?
Since the end of March 2022, people who have a Steam Deck receive some occasional questions on their screen saying something like “This game shows as verified, does it match your experience?”. Patola at Boiling Steam has for example received this kind of question a dozen times on his Deck if not more. Podiki is also reporting getting this kind of prompt almost everytime after playing a game for the first time on the Deck and has the following comment about the process:
With more eyes every week on more titles, invariably we’ll find more bugs. How this is all collected, aggregated, and how much it reflects the “truth” is not known, but is important data.
In the end, a game that works very well but is not 100% adapted to the Steam Deck format (text size, controls, launchers) should be rated as “Playable” while the gaming experience may still be very good, all things considered.
So, it may well be that the ongoing user-driven feedback is the one that’s playing the most important role in the recent decrease of verified titles.
What do you think? Do you have any other hypothesis?