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Don’t fret about Steam Deck compatibility — Valve has you covered

An image of the Valve Steam Deck on a blue background
(Image credit: Valve)

The ongoing question around the Valve Steam Deck is just how many games it’ll actually run. What first appeared to be a device that could run all of the Steam library is actually only compatible with some 16,000 games; more than enough for most, but not perfect. 

But to make it easier to see which games will run on the Steam Deck when it arrives in December, Valve has revealed the Steam Deck Compatibility program, which will label games in Steam that’ll perform well on the handheld PC-meets-console. 

The Steam Deck Compatibility program will put games in four different categories. “Verified” is for any games that work “great on Steam Deck, right out of the box,” while “Playable” is for games that may require some manual tweaking by the player. “Unsupported” is, unsurprisingly, for games that won’t work on the Steam Deck. And “Unknown” is for games that Valve has yet to check for Steam Deck compatibility. 

For the Verified tag, games will need to have full controller support, work at the Steam Deck’s resolutions of 1280 x 800 or 1280 x 720 at default settings, offer no compatibility warning, and fully support Proton if it's running on the platform.

As such, when you visit the Steam Store on the Steam Deck you’ll be able to see a tab titled “Great on Deck” that flags all the verified Steam games so far. This tab has not been added to the desktop version of Steam, which means you won’t get a preview in that app for which games will run on the Steam Deck, if you’ve yet to decide on whether you want to buy the console or not.

In short, this new program should provide an easy way for people to see what games will run on the Steam Deck and make a decision on whether they wish to play on the console or on a gaming PC. And Valve appears to be going deep into offering extra information around the Steam Deck, from a video of it being torn down to quick tips for developers on how they can get their game verified for the Steam Deck.

We’ve yet to try out the Steam Deck, but with each bit of new information from Valve, the hybrid console-meets-PC becomes more interesting.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.