On the official Microsoft support site (opens in new tab), as spotted by our sibling site PC Gamer (opens in new tab), there are now instructions to get the Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) up and running on the Steam Deck by installing Microsoft’s Edge browser.
Thanks to the Microsoft Edge for Linux beta, which enables the browser to work with the Linux-based SteamOS software on the Steam Deck, you can access the browser-based version of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (opens in new tab) to stream games over Wi-Fi or cellular to Valve’s handheld.
Microsoft does recommend a mouse and keyboard are connected to the Steam Deck to handle the initial setup of Edge on Linux. But once done, the Steam Deck’s controls should work fine with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming. It doesn't hurt that the Steam Deck has a comprehensive suite of controls from analogue sticks to touchpads and a touchscreen.
Once set up users should have access to a massive library of well-curated games. These range from first-party Xbox and Windows titles, like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, to third-party games like Frostpunk and Darkest Dungeon.
While the Steam Deck has enough power to run such games natively, the ace in the hole with Xbox Cloud Gaming is that it bypasses the issue of anti-cheat systems in the likes of of Gears 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection not working with Steam OS at present.
And Xbox Cloud Gaming is getting better and better. Not only is Microsoft pretty good at retrofitting console-centric touch controls into some games, which allows them to be played on tablets and smartphones without a Bluetooth controller, the company has worked on improving the streaming experience on iOS as well. We recently tried the upgraded Xbox Cloud Gaming service on an iPhone 13 Pro and were left very impressed.