Valve says Steam Deck exclusive titles don't make much sense

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,741   +140
Staff member
In a nutshell: Valve has published a Steam Deck FAQ consisting of questions asked by developers and publishers during its recent Steamworks Steam Deck virtual conference. Much of what was discussed won't concern the average gamer, but there were a couple of interesting tidbits that surfaced during the one-day event.

When asked if Valve would be interested in creating games exclusively for the Steam Deck, the company said that path doesn’t make much sense to them. “It’s a PC and it should just play games like a PC,” Valve said matter-of-factly.

In response to a question about verified games, Valve said such titles will be more visible on the default store home page. Valve is aiming to get titles through the verification process within a week of submission, but admitted that this could vary depending on the size of the queue at any time.

Valve also commented on the possibility of additional color options for the handheld. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to announce right now, but the gaming company said it will take a look at other color options in the future, adding that it is pretty far down the road.

Developers may also be interested to know that there isn’t anything special about dev kits. That is, they contain no special hardware or software that makes them easier to develop for. The same tools and testing methods can be used on any retail unit, we’re told.

Valve announced the Steam Deck over the summer. The handheld gaming PC starts at $399, and unsurprisingly, pre-orders quickly sold out. Early adopters were expected to receive their consoles in time for the holidays, but Valve was forced to delay the launch by two months due to global supply chain issues.

The first retail units are now scheduled to ship in February 2022.

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Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
Valve claiming a steam deck is just a PC that plays PC games is horse sh*t. It’s just a steam machine in a different form factor that only plays steam games.

You can be forgiven for thinking that Valve are completely unaware of what’s been going on in the PC market as they haven’t really changed anything for years or even made any PC games. But the steam decks OS only plays steam games. And over the last decade or so we have seen the rise of competitors like Uplay, Xbox for windows, Epic, GOG, EA desktop, Battlenet. And several games with standalone launchers. I hardly ever use steam these days when I play games on my PC.

Edit, as I’m getting hounded. Yes I’m aware you can install windows on a steam deck. That isn’t really what steam are selling, it’s not supported and we know most users won’t either bother or have the ability to do it. Windows is not designed for a handheld anyway and could be awkward if you’re on a plane or something and you find yourself plugging a keyboard in to get past a menu or something. You can install windows on an Intel based mac, that doesn’t mean an Intel based Mac is offering the full PC gaming experience (although Apple do try and prevent you from doing so, Valve do not).
 
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Valve claiming a steam deck is just a PC that plays PC games is horse sh*t. It’s just a steam machine in a different form factor that only plays steam games.

You can be forgiven for thinking that Valve are completely unaware of what’s been going on in the PC market as they haven’t really changed anything for years or even made any PC games. But the steam decks OS only plays steam games. And over the last decade or so we have seen the rise of competitors like Uplay, Xbox for windows, Epic, GOG, EA desktop, Battlenet. And several games with standalone launchers. I hardly ever use steam these days when I play games on my PC.
Valve has already explicitly stated multiple times that third party stores and launchers are supported. To state otherwise is sheer ignorance.

The Deck isn't even confined to its own operating system. Windows can be installed on it. It is literally a PC.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
Valve has already explicitly stated multiple times that third party stores and launchers are supported. To state otherwise is sheer ignorance.

The Deck isn't even confined to its own operating system. Windows can be installed on it. It is literally a PC.
You are incorrect, epic games, uplay and Xbox are all not supported currently on steam OS. To claim they are is just a bare faced lie. All steam have said is that they will allow it. But can you see MS allowing game pass for example on anything but a windows device? I can’t.

And yes a steam deck isn’t confined to its operating system. But you won’t get any product support or updates if you install any operating system that isn’t steam OS.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,660   +6,447
I've been playing Battlefield 2042 with my Xbox controller because it makes Driving, flying and general movement easier - although aiming and headshots are difficult. I'm sure that I wouldn't mind being able to run Battlefield or another FPS game on VSD. My problem is:

#1 Can it run that game?
#2 how much will I lose?
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,653   +3,308
TechSpot Elite
You are incorrect, epic games, uplay and Xbox are all not supported currently on steam OS. To claim they are is just a bare faced lie. All steam have said is that they will allow it. But can you see MS allowing game pass for example on anything but a windows device? I can’t.

And yes a steam deck isn’t confined to its operating system. But you won’t get any product support or updates if you install any operating system that isn’t steam OS.
Looks like you just contradicted yourself, or at least moved the goal posts lol

Why? It is a PC that will have no artificial barriers to install other launchers/OSes. Unlike other branded handhelds like the Switch or PSP.
Of course Steam will be made the best experience, but who in their right mind would expect anything else from a STEAM deck??

Seriously, why are you whining about this? This approach (and being an open platform) can only be good for the consumer (if they want to choose to use non-Steam software).
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,021   +1,477
You are incorrect, epic games, uplay and Xbox are all not supported currently on steam OS. To claim they are is just a bare faced lie. All steam have said is that they will allow it. But can you see MS allowing game pass for example on anything but a windows device? I can’t.

And yes a steam deck isn’t confined to its operating system. But you won’t get any product support or updates if you install any operating system that isn’t steam OS.
You're arguing that Epic Games, the shitheads that made a name for themselves by buying exclusives, is suffering from Valve "enforcing exclusivity" on its platform which is just a small PC.

This is some "cries out as he strikes you" tier horseshit. You're a propagandist and this is shameless gaslighting.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
You're arguing that Epic Games, the shitheads that made a name for themselves by buying exclusives, is suffering from Valve "enforcing exclusivity" on its platform which is just a small PC.

This is some "cries out as he strikes you" tier horseshit. You're a propagandist.
I haven’t made that claim at all. All I said is that Valve are talking out of their bum holes when they call their steam machine a “a PC that plays PC games”
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
Looks like you just contradicted yourself, or at least moved the goal posts lol

Why? It is a PC that will have no artificial barriers to install other launchers/OSes. Unlike other branded handhelds like the Switch or PSP.
Of course Steam will be made the best experience, but who in their right mind would expect anything else from a STEAM deck??

Seriously, why are you whining about this? This approach (and being an open platform) can only be good for the consumer (if they want to choose to use non-Steam software).
You have correctly pointed out that steam has placed no barriers on other PC games companies from installing launchers. However those launchers are not available. Technically there is nothing stopping corporations installing their launchers on a lot of devices, other Linux based devices for example, rasberry pi, Android phones, even Apple would let corporations sell games. But they don’t. There’s a massive difference between actively supporting something and not preventing.

You know full well that people using steams OS won’t get access to most PC gaming launchers. So why argue with me?
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
I've been playing Battlefield 2042 with my Xbox controller because it makes Driving, flying and general movement easier - although aiming and headshots are difficult. I'm sure that I wouldn't mind being able to run Battlefield or another FPS game on VSD. My problem is:

#1 Can it run that game?
#2 how much will I lose?
If you own the game on steam then if the hardware is powerful enough yes, you can run the game. Which in this case is unlikely as the steam deck runs a laptop class APU that isn’t likely going to give you a good experience in a competitive multiplayer shooter.

If you bought the game on any other storefront then no you will not be able to run it without manually removing steam OS, then purchasing, manually installing and maintaining your own copy of windows on the device (which will make it perform worse).
 

psycros

Posts: 3,807   +4,934
You have correctly pointed out that steam has placed no barriers on other PC games companies from installing launchers. However those launchers are not available. Technically there is nothing stopping corporations installing their launchers on a lot of devices, other Linux based devices for example, rasberry pi, Android phones, even Apple would let corporations sell games. But they don’t. There’s a massive difference between actively supporting something and not preventing.

You know full well that people using steams OS won’t get access to most PC gaming launchers. So why argue with me?

Its not Valve's job to build Linux clients for their competitors. If Epic or anyone else chooses to be Windows-exclusive that's their call, not Valve's. Why are you making such absurd arguments? NVM, I don't really care.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,525   +2,976
General compute + Entry level pricing is attractive: for most people even if the included SSD is tiny being able to just get a 512gb microsd card that performs about as well or a tad faster as a mechanical drive would be good enough to be both gaming and even general computing once docked.

We know there's compromises but people are willing to work with those as we've seen with dev boards like the raspberry pi there's just so much you can do with very limited hardware I wouldn't be surprised if someone on a real limited budget could both game and use for general computing by just adding keyboard, mouse and monitor to it.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
Its not Valve's job to build Linux clients for their competitors. If Epic or anyone else chooses to be Windows-exclusive that's their call, not Valve's. Why are you making such absurd arguments? NVM, I don't really care.
I didn’t blame Valve for other companies not putting their launchers on steam. Im not sure where you got that from. I blamed Valve for claiming their steam OS based machine, which currently only supports steam games is a “PC that can play PC games”. Valve do not own PC gaming.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,202   +1,058
I didn’t blame Valve for other companies not putting their launchers on steam. Im not sure where you got that from. I blamed Valve for claiming their steam OS based machine, which currently only supports steam games is a “PC that can play PC games”. Valve do not own PC gaming.
100% agreed, this is just like how Valve accepted the award for PC gaming somewhere recently. How entitled do they want to be? They shouldn’t be going around saying steam is PC gaming, steam gaming is available on PC but its just one corner of the market.

Valve don’t even make games, they make hardware that doesnt sell and they just charge devs 30% for access to their marketplace on someone else’s operating system.

I personally wont be picking up any steam hardware until third parties make launchers for it.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,990   +4,780
You are incorrect, epic games, uplay and Xbox are all not supported currently on steam OS. To claim they are is just a bare faced lie. All steam have said is that they will allow it. But can you see MS allowing game pass for example on anything but a windows device? I can’t.

And yes a steam deck isn’t confined to its operating system. But you won’t get any product support or updates if you install any operating system that isn’t steam OS.
That is not Valve's fault. It's on MS, epic, ece if their platforms refuse to run on linux, not valve. Valve is not stopping them from porting their software to an open source platform. And valve has stated you can load window son the steam deck, then....BOOM, now you can run any launcher you want.

Quit embarassing yourself man.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
That is not Valve's fault. It's on MS, epic, ece if their platforms refuse to run on linux, not valve. Valve is not stopping them from porting their software to an open source platform. And valve has stated you can load window son the steam deck, then....BOOM, now you can run any launcher you want.

Quit embarassing yourself man.
You ought to stop embarrassing yourself. I have never blamed Valve for the fact that other companies do not make launchers for their operating system. Why on earth would you humiliate yourself by lying and claiming I have?

Also, are you seriously so limited that you fail to understand the difference between actively supported and not prevented? Come on dude, someone using a steam deck with its supported operating system can’t play Ubisoft games. And whilst you might tell them that this isn’t Valves fault and you’d be right, it doesn’t change the fact that 3rd party launchers don’t work on steams supported OS.

And yeah you can load windows on a steam deck, once again.I never said you couldn’t. But windows performs worse and isn’t supported. Technically you can install windows on a lot of things and no one will stop you, that doesn’t mean that steams operating system will allow you to play games on third party launchers.

I suggest you read my comments before commenting yourself in future…
 
Come on dude, someone using a steam deck with its supported operating system can’t play Ubisoft games. And whilst you might tell them that this isn’t Valves fault and you’d be right, it doesn’t change the fact that 3rd party launchers don’t work on steams supported OS.
Except they will, just as they do on any other Linux distribution, with the exception of R6 Siege due to anticheat (and this could easily change in the future). Using a program like Lutris, third party Windows launchers are relatively simple to add and manage.

Now, of course, Lutris is not officially endorsed by Valve or the respective third parties, but that is a far cry from saying they "don't work" and that SteamOS "can't play Ubisoft games". Furthermore, some Ubisoft games are on Steam anyways and as a result will officially download through Proton, so the whole point is moot.

But windows performs worse and isn’t supported.
Speculation. If anything, DirectX based GPU-bound games (pretty much any modern release) should perform a little better on Windows as they don't need to go through DXVK or VKD3D. This is currently the pattern as-is with Proton, and I see no reason the Deck will be any different in that regard.

Technically you can install windows on a lot of things and no one will stop you, that doesn’t mean that steams operating system will allow you to play games on third party launchers.
Again, already confirmed that they are explicitly allowing it.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 459   +360
Exclusive games on the PC platform? Are you kidding me with that question?
What's next? Can we connect keyboard to Steam deck? ...
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,959   +1,558
Except they will, just as they do on any other Linux distribution, with the exception of R6 Siege due to anticheat (and this could easily change in the future). Using a program like Lutris, third party Windows launchers are relatively simple to add and manage.

Now, of course, Lutris is not officially endorsed by Valve or the respective third parties, but that is a far cry from saying they "don't work" and that SteamOS "can't play Ubisoft games". Furthermore, some Ubisoft games are on Steam anyways and as a result will officially download through Proton, so the whole point is moot.


Speculation. If anything, DirectX based GPU-bound games (pretty much any modern release) should perform a little better on Windows as they don't need to go through DXVK or VKD3D. This is currently the pattern as-is with Proton, and I see no reason the Deck will be any different in that regard.


Again, already confirmed that they are explicitly allowing it.
Actually most Ubisoft games will not run without uplay, even if you have them on steam. Maybe really old titles work without uplay but nothing modern. I actually recently installed AC4 Black Flag via steam and it automatically opened up uplay and asked me to sign in when I launched the game. And that game is over 8 years old now.

But my point stands, a steam deck is only offering a slice of the PC gaming experience, sure you can manually install your own OS but that isn’t what steam want you to do. They are putting a lot of effort into their own platform. You can manually install your own OS on a lot of hardware, it’s not really an argument. I mean you can install Android on a switch. The difference there being Nintendo do try and stop you but Valve won’t stop you doing that with windows. But in the end your on your own if it goes wrong or you need a hardware specific update.

My beef is quite simply with steam claiming their solution is PC gaming, it’s not and it’s disingenuous to claim it is. Steam gaming is not PC gaming. It’s just one aspect of it. Can we play overwatch on steam OS? What about the most popular PC game of all time - Minecraft? Can I play Far Cry 6? What about Guild Wars 2? Actually with the exception of TES online, many MMOs won’t run on steam OS as many of them require a custom launcher.

The fact is, without voiding your warranty, manually purchasing, installing and updating your own OS, a steam deck is limited to just steam games. And in a world with multiple
launchers, none of which have any plans to go to the deck, users are not getting the full PC gaming experience.

It’s also not fair to expect users to root their devices and install a new OS. You and me might be able to do it but you know full well that the masses won’t.
 
Actually most Ubisoft games will not run without uplay, even if you have them on steam.
Despite this, it's a fully supported configuration on both Steam and the Deck as a result. Black Flag in particular has a Gold rating on ProtonDB, indicating that it works on Proton currently, which means it should work fine on the Deck as well without any further configuration necessary.

Steam gaming is not PC gaming. It’s just one aspect of it.
Correct, which is why every other aspect is supported on the Deck as well.

Can we play overwatch on steam OS?
Yes. I've played it without any problems through Lutris.

What about the most popular PC game of all time - Minecraft?
Yes. Minecraft is officially supported on Linux, and can be launched through Lutris as well as its own launcher.

Can I play Far Cry 6?
I haven't explicitly tried, but I've heard people have gotten it running, yes.

What about Guild Wars 2?
This has ran fine for years. While not officially supported by ArenaNet, the official wiki has had installation instructions for Linux for a long time. I consider it more of an "official unofficial" case as a result. Guild Wars 2 also has an installer on Lutris that automates the process.

The fact is, without voiding your warranty, manually purchasing, installing and updating your own OS, a steam deck is limited to just steam games.
Installing Windows or third party programs does not constitute voiding the warranty as far as the Deck is concerned. Opening the Deck does, of course, but that's to be expected for a device with specialized hardware. Additionally, historically, Valve has been forgiving as far as that's concerned- they released CAD files for some components of the Steam Controller, as well as added official third party addon support for the Index.

It’s also not fair to expect users to root their devices and install a new OS.
Rooting the device won't be necessary to install third party app launchers. The Deck can run Flatpak based programs without needing dev mode to be enabled, and Lutris, which manages third party programs, is available as one, as well as Minecraft's own launcher. There's a bunch more that's available as a Flatpak too, which should cover most bases.

 

rmcrys

Posts: 93   +86
I didn’t blame Valve for other companies not putting their launchers on steam. Im not sure where you got that from. I blamed Valve for claiming their steam OS based machine, which currently only supports steam games is a “PC that can play PC games”. Valve do not own PC gaming.

Your comments are nonsense.

The HARDWARE is a PC (as an Xbox or PS in the last generations) and valve explicitly said that there are no restrictions installing other OS. So, you can install windows and all stores you want. Now, Valve makes money selling games on the platform, you expect they incentive and open arms to competitors?! ... ridiculous.

Valve created a platform and united a lot of companies so that us, customers, can on one platform, organized, find and buy games. An "Amazon" for games.

But your idea is EPIC's idea: just jump on other's work and make money. Jump on Apple ecosystem, make loads of money and deny Apple their share; jump on Steam's platform, make money and deny steam their cut.

What about EPIC making their own platform (open to others as Valve) with a Zen 3 RDNA2 chip and 512 GB SSD for 399? That would be awesome... but no. Too much work for EPIC.
 

Lounds

Posts: 992   +891
I think more important is that if Devs can have a mode for their games when ran on steamdeck so that the steamdeck runs with the best optimised settings, a bit like Quality and performance modes on PS5 and XSX.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,324   +2,415
This thread hurt to read, Shadowboxer basically cannot get his head around the fact all the other companies he so dearly loves actually don't like friendly consumer moves, like supporting open source Linux builds of their own launchers and games.

Also since no one out right said to him, Valve not only confirmed Windows is supported, they are actively working with Microsoft directly for driver support and optimisation, Gabe talks about it in several interviews from a few months back.
 

Fulljack

Posts: 37   +35
And yes a steam deck isn’t confined to its operating system. But you won’t get any product support or updates if you install any operating system that isn’t steam OS.

Oh? how do you know this? any news article regarding this specific issue or are you already own Steam Deck that you personally has tested that it can't install updates when using other OS?
 

Watzupken

Posts: 413   +390
Your comments are nonsense.

The HARDWARE is a PC (as an Xbox or PS in the last generations) and valve explicitly said that there are no restrictions installing other OS. So, you can install windows and all stores you want. Now, Valve makes money selling games on the platform, you expect they incentive and open arms to competitors?! ... ridiculous.

Valve created a platform and united a lot of companies so that us, customers, can on one platform, organized, find and buy games. An "Amazon" for games.

But your idea is EPIC's idea: just jump on other's work and make money. Jump on Apple ecosystem, make loads of money and deny Apple their share; jump on Steam's platform, make money and deny steam their cut.

What about EPIC making their own platform (open to others as Valve) with a Zen 3 RDNA2 chip and 512 GB SSD for 399? That would be awesome... but no. Too much work for EPIC.
I feel this is what Tim Sweeney is trying to brainwash people to think that they are trying to save gamers by opening up multiple options. Essentially, EPIC is not picking up any steam in terms of sales, and losing money. Thus, he is trying to stir things up so that EPIC can get a slice of the cake that's dropped. Right after their dishonest yet trying to be self righteous fiasco, I ditched my EPIC account despite having paid games in there.

The truth is, every company does something in order to try to benefit from it, I.e. profit from it. All these actions are calculated, and unfortunately, not with consumers' benefit as the main reason. It may indirectly benefit us though, but the way they are trying to pitch this is like, "Yeah, its only for the gamers!". Then may be Tim should be opening up a not for profit store, I.e. just earn normal profit, and excluding cost of paying for exclusive titles.