Valve has announced that it's reached the milestone of over a thousand games working well with the Steam Deck.
Verified is the gold standard for compatibility with the Steam Deck, and games which get this certification from Valve work well with the portable right out of the box. Those which are Playable are, as the name suggests, perfectly playable, but may need some tweaking by the player to get the best experience.
Games in either category as good to go, essentially, and there are now in excess of a thousand of these, with Valve expecting to make good progress in terms of evaluating more games as time rolls on.
Freshly certified titles include Elden Ring, in case you missed that, which launched at the same time as the Steam Deck as a fully Verified title. We took an in-depth look at how Elden Ring plays on the Steam Deck, if you're interested.
Analysis: Caution first when it comes to certification
It’s obviously good to see this milestone reached, but of course, it doesn’t mean there are only a thousand games (or so) that play nice (mostly) with the Steam Deck. There are tons of others, no doubt, it’s just that Valve’s team need to get round to testing them all and applying the correct status (until then, they’re marked as ‘Unknown’).
As time rolls on, improvements are going to be made in terms of better support for anti-cheat software, fixing bugs with Proton – the compatibility layer that the Steam Deck uses to run Windows games on its Linux OS – and possibly developers tuning their games for controller support, to pick a few examples. In other words, the compatibility landscape will be constantly evolving, and Valve took the time to remind us of this in its blog post, as well as the process it’s using for tagging games as Verified.
In short, Valve is taking a cautious approach as outlined in the post: “If a game shows controller glyphs 99% of the time but tells you to ‘press F’ sometimes during gameplay, that’s Playable, not Verified. If 99% of a game’s functionality is accessible, but accessing one optional in-game minigame crashes, or one tutorial video doesn’t render, that’s Unsupported.”
So, if even a slight issue is encountered – perhaps one that any given gamer may not stumble across at all – the game will be marked as Unsupported, when in reality, it mostly runs fine overall. This way, gamers are pleasantly surprised if they do test an Unsupported title and it seems to work much better than expected, rather than if it was signed off as Playable with a single unfortunate glitch that they subsequently encountered.
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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).