Steam Deck Verified: Understanding Compatibility


As the launch window of the Steam Deck approaches, Valve has finally decided to touch upon the hot topic of compatibility with the Steam Deck Verified initiative. Basically, they will show in the new SteamOS interface whether or not titles work as expected on the Steam Deck, using a rating system. This is explained very well in the following video:

As you can see games will be given 4 different kind of ratings:

  • Verified: something like “Platinum” now on ProtonDB
  • Playable: works with some user tweaks needed. Probably something like “Gold” right now on ProtonDB.
  • Unsupported: does not work right now - something like “borked” on ProtonDB.
  • Unknown: not tested yet.

Therefore we now have a confirmation that:

  • The whole Steam Library will NOT work at launch on the Deck. This, you already knew it from Boiling Steam when we released our exclusive interview with James Ramey from Codeweavers some time ago.
  • The rating system uses a checklist to confirm whether games work seamlessly on the Steam Deck or not. Items such as controls, screen resolution, and of course whether the game works as expected on SteamOS (i.e. Proton) will be part of the evaluation.
  • Valve has a review team that will playtest games and issue reports to developers who want to see their games supported on the Deck. Developers can ask for a compatibility review by adding them to the review queue.
  • Valve has automated systems to detect important games (based on playtime) that will be automatically added in the review system.

Valve has also confirmed that compatibility could be provided either by Proton compatibility, or having a native Linux build. So developers who still want to make native builds will be able to continue doing so.

We also have the confirmation that Ethan Lee is going to be involved in the Steam Deck verified process, as hinted by this tweet:

Overall, I feel that Valve has a pretty good plan in place to let users know about what games they can play on the Steam Deck, and how to help developers get their games working on the device as well.

The key question will be… how fast can Valve test and add games to the Steam Deck verified list, and how reliable such ratings will be once developers publish updates and so on. It’s not rare to experience regressions with Proton (GTA V anyone?) so this is going to be one of the hard problems to solve.

I am also guessing we will be able to track via the Steam API which games are currently “verified” for Steam Deck as the hardware launches, so hopefully that will make it easy for us to also track the progress day after day, month after month.

Exciting times!