Valve is Accelerating the Validation of Games From 2023 for the Steam Deck Like Never Before… Including Games Not Even Released Yet


So a few days ago the Steam Deck passed another milestone with 10 000 titles now in the category of Playable and Verified. I went ahead and checked what has been happening since the past milestone of 9000 games was crossed. I had a few more questions on my mind too. And it looks like there’s some new stuff I can share with you. But first, let’s start from the Big Picture when it comes to the verification of games for the Steam Deck.

The current pace of verification

Right now titles are tested almost like clockwork at a rate of 3000 games every 6 months – we moved from 7000 titles verified or playable in the beginning of January 2023 to 10 000 exactly 6 months later.

Very steady progress, without a hitch.

How is the Verification Going?

Overall the number of unsupported titles is progressively falling – as you can see in this cumulative view, that got very popular for some reason on Hacker News among other places.

As you can already guess from the above, the “not as good” piece of news is that the rate of newly Verified titles keep falling. Here is a graph that looks only at the new games validated on every week, and not in a cumulative way:

As you can see:

  • It used to be at around 20~25% until a few months back…
  • But in the more recent weeks, the verification ratio is falling below the 20% on average.

Because of that, you can see that the cumulative percentage of Steam Deck Verified Games is dropping continuously (this is compared vs Playable titles).

Given enough time, this number will eventually reach the current range of about ~20% unless the game developers start to take in consideration the Steam Deck as a proper platform and ensure that games work better for its capabilities and screen size. The “verified” rating has always had flukes, and more recently one of them is again questionable, with The Last of Us getting a verified rating after a series of patches improving its performance and getting rid of many crashes – despite that, the performance on the Steam Deck even at the lowest details is barely enough to sustain 30 fps in specific areas – while performance is not officially one of the criteria to consider a game verified, it would make sense for it to a robust criteria. In any case, the framerates have definitely improved with the latest patches, as you can see in the below video:

What Games are Getting Playable and Verified Ratings?

As I mentioned before, Valve and their partners are definitely focusing on ensuring that recent games work, and this has never been more obvious than in this last period. Since we crossed the 9000 games milestone around the 6th of May 2023, among the new 1000 games that were validated, we have… 458 games released in 2023! Very close to half of the games validated in the past few months are from this year! This can be shown in the most obvious way in this animation below:

Another way to look at it, is to look at the gap between the release of a new game and the time it’s being tested by Valve and given a first rating (be it unsupported, playable or verified). We took the whole dataset until now, and this is what this graph looks like:

This one needs a bit more explanations:

  • if a game is in the upper side above the diagonal line, it was assessed by Valve after its official release.
  • if it’s under the line, it was assessed by Valve BEFORE its actual release. More on that later.

The most important finding is that from 2023 onwards, you see a very deep red cloud of points flocking together. This is the games that were released in 2023 and received a rating very, very soon after their release. This is a fairly new pattern in the data, which seems to indicate that Valve is putting a lot priority on validating newer games rather than the older backlog… or it could also be that they have found ways to automate some part of the validation process to get to an assessment much faster. But this seems unlikely, as you would see an overall increase in the pace of validated titles if this were the case, but there’s no such growth there as you can see in the very first graph at the top.

So, it’s probably just Valve focusing on validating newer games with high priority, because this is probably what gamers want the most: to be able to play the newest, freshest games with confidence.

This leads us to an interesting pattern in that data, with Valve validating certain games BEFORE they are even released. At first, I thought this may have been games in Early Access, but it’s actually not the case for most of them. One example recently is Killer Frequency (check out our review here). It was validated a good week before its release for the Steam Deck.

Same for Sludge Life 2, which received a rating 12 days ahead of its release!

And here is The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie that will release on July 7th, and is already rated as “Steam Verified” since mid-June 2023!

So this is definitely a sign that a lot of publishers and developers are starting to work ahead of time with Valve and their partners to get their titles to work with the Steam Deck.

An excellent sign, I’d say.