Ahead of Steam Deck’s December release, Valve has detailed the compatibility program it will use to let people know if they can play their games on the portable PC. Dubbed , the system groups games into four categories: “Verified,” “Playable,” “Unsupported” and “Unkown.”
If you see a game with the first badge, it means it will work great out of the box. Of the playable category, Valve says you may need to do some tweaking. For example, in a title like Team Fortress 2, you might have to download a community controller configuration before you can use the Steam Deck’s thumbsticks and face buttons to play the game. Valve lists Half-Life: Alyx as an example of an experience that you won’t be able to play on Steam Deck, suggesting the unsupported category will be mostly occupied by VR titles. Lastly, an unknown tag means the company hasn’t had a chance to test that game for compatibility yet.
To earn verified status, a game must meet four criteria. First, it should include full controller support, and the onscreen keyboard should appear when needed. Second, you shouldn’t see any compatibility warnings. The game should also support the Steam Deck’s native 1,280 by 800 resolution, and text should be easily readable. Lastly, if the title is playable through Proton, everything, including any anti-cheat software, should work through the compatibility layer.
To make things easy, you’ll see the badges appear both in your Steam library and the store. Moreover, each time you go to buy a game, you’ll see a full compatibility report that lists any issues to expect when playing it. Valve says it’s also working on a system that will allow you to see what compatibility category each game in your library falls under before Steam Deck is available in December.
If nothing else, the system should make it easier to decide if it makes sense to buy a Steam Deck. The last thing anyone wants is to spend $400 on a new gadget and not be able to play their favorite games.