Games

Steam Game Rating System Explained

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Steam

After a long wait, you probably already have a Steam Deck on your hands right now? So, what is next? Play a game, of course.

You are already itching to try out your games in your Steam library as such. However, it’s worth pointing out that not everything in it works with the Deck out-of-the-box. While some may run without issues, others may demonstrate some concerns, or worse, not play at all. What gives?

 

Why don’t all Steam games work on the Steam Deck?

Valve’s Steam Deck runs on a custom version of Linux called SteamOS, a proprietary system designed especially for it. But being a variant of the Linux operating system, it comes with limitations. Issues that are otherwise not a concern if running on Windows. Primarily, program compatibility between two operating systems.

The Windows operating system currently dominates the entire market. For this reason, many of the computer programs in existence were made specifically for it, especially video games.  For that reason, Linux has a severely limited number of games in its library that it can run natively. In an attempt to mitigate that restriction, Valve has made a fork of a pre-existing program that does just that (WINE) and called it Proton.

But Proton, the compatibility layer, even at its current state, is not perfect. As such, while there are Windows games that run on the SteamOS through it, others are less consistent, and some even do not run well at all. For this reason, there are several classifications meant to identify with a title relative to its compatibility with the Steam Deck: verified, playable, unsupported, and unknown.

Steam Deck

What are the differences between categories?

If you are looking to play the game that works without a hitch with the Deck Steam, look for those under the “verified” class. As the label implies, this is a distinction that guarantees that a title will work on the platform without the need for additional steps or configurations beforehand.

The “playable” category, on the other hand, is exactly what the caveat is with the previous class. Meaning, while a particular game would work on the Steam Deck, certain concerns could arise. For instance, some games would demand the use of the on-screen keyboard or the use of the touchscreen. In the best-case scenario, these are but just minor inconveniences that are otherwise essential in the overall experience of the game.

“Unsupported” games, meanwhile, is at its name suggests: the game simply won’t work on the Steam Deck. There is one of two (or both) reasons for this: either the game is incompatible with the Proton or it requires beefier hardware than what the Steam Deck provides, not only in terms of CPU and GPU power but sometimes even in terms of storage. Some games like Call of Duty can get up to 350 GB with all of the updates, patches, maps, and whatnots – an amount of data that would not only get the internal storage to sweat but also the best sd card for Steam Deck.

Although the issue of compatibility with the Proton could still be fixed with later development, a game needing more powerful hardware, however, is impossible to address without modifying the Steam Deck’s build.

It is certainly dismaying knowing that not all of your games in your Steam library will work on the Steam Deck from the get-go. But it is also worth knowing that the platform is still in its early stages at this point. With continued support and development from Valve, only time can tell what the Steam Deck would be like as a gaming device. For now, it is definitely superior to the Nintendo Switch in the processing power department.

 

How is this title compatible with the Steam Deck?

To see if your game is compatible with the Steam Deck or not, visit: https://store.steampowered.com/steamdeck/mygames

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