Steam Deck compatibility with games is growing, but it’s not all good news

Battlefield V screenshot showing a plane flying overhead
(Image credit: EA DICE)

Linux can now run 80% of the top 100 most popular games on Steam using the Proton compatibility layer, and therefore by extension the same is true of the SteamOS (Linux) powered Steam Deck.

This fresh milestone was reported by ProtonDB, which keeps track of compatibility via reports from gamers. At the time of writing, exactly 80% of Windows games are ranked as ‘Gold’ for Proton compatibility, which means that the titles in question run ‘perfectly’ after a little tweaking (games which run perfectly with no tweaking needed at all are rated Platinum).

Essentially, Gold ratings (or above) are what you’re looking for in order to ensure that a game is a smooth experience with Proton, as Silver-rated titles, while being generally playable, have some issues.

Ratings are based on player reports as mentioned, and out of 21,244 games which have been reported and included in ProtonDB’s stats, 17,649 work via Proton.

Analysis: Still work to do with the cream of the Steam crop

Obviously having more top games creep into the fold of those covered by Proton compatibility is great news, and Battlefield V is an example of one of the top 100 games which has recently been promoted to the Gold tier from Silver.

This progress makes sense, of course, given that since Valve first revealed the Steam Deck (which is due to land in February 2022), the company said it was going to work hard on Proton, as this is the engine of the handheld PC’s operating system when it comes to getting Windows games working on the device. It’s a crucially important aspect of the Steam Deck, then, so it’s no wonder Valve has promised to push hard with refining Proton’s powers.

While 80% of the top 100 games are now fully functional with Proton (at least reportedly), the top 10 on Steam is a much thornier area in that six of them don’t play ball. That includes Halo Infinite, Apex Legends, Destiny 2 and Amazon’s New World, as well as PUBG. The latter battle royale could become an even more complex issue when it switches to free-to-play and introduces new anti-cheat measures to potentially throw further spanners in the works. (Apex Legends is also hamstrung by its anti-cheat on Proton, still, as are New World and Destiny 2 going by the reports on ProtonDB).

It’s not going to look great for Valve if it can’t get some of these big hitters working on the Steam Deck when it launches, particularly with PUBG as with it going free in January, a lot more folks are going to be keen to give it a spin (Apex Legends is also free-to-play, of course). Naturally, work on Proton is an ongoing process, so fingers crossed those percentages keep ticking up on ProtonDB.

Via Neowin

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).