By reviewing its 50,000-title library (yikes), Valve will be able to sort games into one of four categories: verified, playable, unsupported, or unknown. Verified means the game is fit for Steam Deck right out of the box, while playable implies the game may need some tweaking from the user’s end to be enjoyable, like a specific community controller configuration. Unsupported means the game isn’t currently compatible with Steam Deck at all. Unknown means Valve hasn’t gotten to it yet, which is fair, given the size of the hill Valve is about to climb.
Games that have undergone the review process by Valve will earn a color-coded badge indicating their compatibility status. Clicking on a game’s badge will reveal the details of its Steam Deck suitability, allowing potential players to decide whether any incompatibilities are ones they’re willing to put up with.
The review team will measure compatibility based on four categories: input, display, seamlessness, and support. A title’s controller support and on-screen keyboard prompting factor into its input compatibility, while seamlessness relies on the game’s launcher being fully navigable with a controller and not displaying any compatibility warnings. Display suitability is determined based on the game’s default resolution (1280×800 or 1280×720 are necessary for Steam Deck), text legibility, and other default settings. And if a game isn’t automatically supported by Steam Deck but is playable through Proton, all of its middleware must be supported by Proton, including anti-cheat features.
Despite previous reports saying otherwise, not every game on the Steam library will eventually make its way to playable status or higher. Valve is planning on making as many games as possible compatible with the Steam Deck through Proton, but some will obviously be better suited for this than others, while a few stragglers—like those that require VR headsets—will never become portable. Now, instead of playing a guessing game or hoping for the best, gamers will know right off the bat whether their favorite titles can be played on the mini screen.