Steam Deck likely won't support every game at launch but its library will grow fast

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

Steam Deck will play a ton of Steam games, but it's not going to run all of them at launch, according to one of the external companies involved in making it work.

Around the time Steam Deck was revealed, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais explained that the company wants "the entire Steam library" to be playable. He added that Valve hasn't "found something we could throw at this device that it couldn't handle."

In a new interview with Linux gaming blog Boiling Steam (as spotted by Rock, Paper, Shotgun), CodeWeavers president James Ramey took care to separate those two ideas: specifically, the fact that Griffais was only talking about Steam Deck's hardware being able to handle games, not necessarily its software. CodeWeavers works on the Proton software that lets the Linux-based Steam Deck run games made for Windows, which gives Ramey some uncommon insight into the situation.

"People have kind of taken that and they have said, 'well, that means it can support the entire Steam library.' I don't necessarily think that is true because not every game runs in Proton as of today," Ramey explained.

"Now I do think that because Proton is a living, breathing project, it's not something that is static in any way, shape, or form; that there is a lot of effort being poured into Proton to support a broader range of games even that is available then currently today. So you're going to see that when the Steam Deck is released and Proton is put on the Steam Deck that there is going to be a greater number of titles that are supported."

Ramey added that a number of groups are working on improving Proton with Valve at the forefront, but he doesn't specifically have insider knowledge with Valve. His perspective reflects the overall state of the project, though he did tease that Steam Deck will likely be "more robust than people are anticipating" when it arrives in December.

Going back to the official word from Valve, a Steamworks developer video from July specifically says the company's "goal is for every game to work by the time we ship Steam Deck." That said, having a goal of every Steam game working on the handheld system is very different from saying that they definitely will.

In less technical but equally important news, Valve is also considering making multiple colors for Steam Deck in the future. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.