The Valve Steam Deck is set to be released in December, and has thus far be shaping up as a portable PC for your Steam games library. Only that may not be the case after all, at least not at launch.
That's according to James B. Ramey, president of software development outfit CodeWeavers, a company that's been working alongside Valve on the Proton compatibility layer that supports the Steam Deck’s Linux-based SteamOS. Ramey noted that it's pretty unlikely that every Stream game will run on the handheld computer.
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Before you rush out to cancel your Steam Deck pre-order, if you were lucky enough to get one, it's worth remembering that Proton supports a healthy 16,000 games. That's a lot, probably more than you'll play in a lifetime, but it's not the entirety of the Steam library.
However, Ramey's comments were in response to a Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais telling IGN that "all the games we wanted to be playable is, really, the entire Steam library. We haven’t really found something we could throw at this device that it couldn’t handle.”
Taking part in the Boiling Steam podcast, Ramey suggested that the words from Griffais‘ interview might have been misinterpreted, leading gamers to believe that the console will run all Steam titles upon launch. Ramey further explained that although Steam Deck will be powerful hardware-wise, not every Steam game can be compatible immediately.
“I think he was trying to state that the device itself, the hardware specs on this device, can support any game; I don’t necessarily think he was referencing supporting that game in Proton — I think he was referencing that the device has the horsepower, the video graphics, the RAM, the hard drive space to support any game out there,” Ramey stated.
As Rock Paper Shotgun points out, neither Ramey or CodeWeavers are directly involved in the production of the Steam Deck. But the company's work on Proton gives it an insight into compatalbity.
As such, you might find in the early days of the Steam Deck that some of the game you want to play might not work on it. But then the supposedly open nature of the Steam Deck means there would likely be workarounds or fixes for any incompatibilities later on down the line.