Valve confirms: No exclusive Steam Deck games

steam deck library
(Image credit: Valve)

The Steam Deck, Valve’s innovative handheld PC, has already hit a few stumbling blocks. After a difficult pre-order process and some hardware shortages, the Steam Deck is now slated to launch in February 2022 rather than December 2021. Valve has confidence in 2022 shipments in another interview as well.

In the meantime, Valve has released a comprehensive developer FAQ, and there’s at least one interesting tidbit in there: the Steam Deck won’t have any exclusive games. This info comes directly from Valve’s Steam Deck Developer FAQ, specifically the final “Wrap Up” section.

“Would Valve be interested in having any Steam Deck exclusive titles?” one question reads.

“No, that doesn’t make much sense to us,” Valve replies. “It’s a PC and should just play games like a PC.”

This may seem like a pretty straightforward answer for a pretty straightforward question. After all, Valve has always advertised the Steam Deck as a handheld PC, not a proprietary gaming console. While Valve does develop some games in-house, the company has never been especially precious about them, and has made everything from Half-Life to Dota 2 available on a variety of hardware.

Still, enough developers asked the question that Valve considered it worth including in an FAQ. If you were wondering whether the Steam Deck will have exclusive games, wonder no longer: It won’t.

Or, at the very least, Valve has no plans to pursue exclusive games right now. Things could change in the future, but since the Steam Deck appears to run more or less like a regular gaming PC or Linux machine, we’re not even sure how Valve could restrict game availability by platform.

If you have half-an-hour or so to peruse the FAQ, there are actually quite a few interesting questions and answers, for both developers and prospective buyers alike. For example:

  • The version of SteamOS on the Steam Deck will eventually replace Valve’s living room-centric Big Picture Mode.
  • The Steam Deck isn’t optimized for VR games.
  • The Steam Deck will support couch co-op via Bluetooth and/or USB.
  • Valve doesn’t have a strong preference between Proton support or native Linux versions of Steam Deck games.
  • Japan and Australia are on the list of prospective countries that could get the Steam Deck next.
  • The Steam Deck supports touchscreen controls, but Valve recommends sticking with a trackpad input to mimic mouse controls for the most part.

Valve has a mixed track record when it comes to hardware, but gamers on social media seem pretty excited about the Steam Deck. We’ll learn whether the system lives up to its expectations when February 2022 rolls around.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.