- Some game devs are already working with the Steam Deck
- Their experience so far seems to be good
- The OS still needs some polishing, but games are relatively easily being ported
Game developers, who have early access to Valve’s Steam Deck, give positive reviews, stating the ease of porting their games from PC to the console.
Devs Tease Steam Deck Gameplay
The Steam Deck is one of the most anticipated products coming out in 2022. Despite several delays it had in its production, Valve’s console is finally coming out on February 25. Despite it not yet being on the market, various game developers have been working with the Deck, with many praising its Linux-based operating system called SteamOS.
“I was surprised how well games work on it without any changes, and how good it feels to play on it,” said Iron Gate programmer and designer Jonathan Smårs for PC Gamer. The studio develops the popular sandbox survival game with Nordic mythology elements Valheim. Smårs said the game worked well on the Deck from day one without any changes.
“The graphic settings need to be set down a bit compared to my high-end PC of course, but I'm still impressed with what such a small handheld can handle without any platform-specific optimizations,” Smårs added.
Some other developers, like Raymond Doerr, owner of SixtyGig Games and developer of Rise to Ruins, said they have had to make slight adjustments to make their games work well. “I did have some issues with controls,” Doerr said,” but my game is not designed for a controller at all, it doesn't even have the code to detect/respond to controller inputs.” He also added that the touchpad for the mouse might be one of the best he’s ever used.
How Will the Steam Deck Perform?
It seems Valve is trying to do everything in its power to make porting games to their new console as smooth as possible. There were initially concerns that the Linux-based SteamOS would make the Deck less accessible. However, this did not seem to bother developers as more and more are working to port their games.
One developer that spoke with PC Gamer said that the OS might have some issues on the development side, but for the average user, it should be fine. According to them, some games struggled to detect the Steam Deck as a controller. They also said the Steam library can be a pain to scroll through without a search function or a way to collapse the list.
Company director of No More Robots Mike Rose. “The Steam OS feels like it always has—90% great,” he said, explaining that most features work well enough, “but it just has little niggles here and there—that's how Steam Deck feels.”
A concern some people raise is how much support will the console receive. Valve has released in the past other hardware like the Steam Controller and Steam Machines, but they're often abandoned after a few years.
project manager and CTO for Sekai Project Raymond Qian said “I am a bit worried about support, I've had a Steam controller, Steam Link, HTC Vive, and a Valve Index, and two of the four are pretty much discontinued.” Still, he hopes that since there's very little work required on the developer's side, and Proton (the specific Linux version SteamOS is built on) is maintained, the Deck will continue to be up to date for the latest games.
Speaking of the games, there are over 100 titles currently playable on the Steam Deck. However, comparing this to Steam’s library of over 50 000 titles, this number is just a drop in the ocean. There is still a lot of work to do to bring more titles to the console, but according to developers si far, Valve should deliver a good platform.