Some Steam Deck owners recently started to worry that it might be possible for developers to block their games from being played on the handheld gaming PC, but Valve swiftly confirmed this isn’t the case, and the confusion has arisen over what’s actually a ‘technical issue’ and a mistake – which has now been fixed.
This started on Twitter where it was observed that Demon Gaze Extra, a JRPG, seemed to be configured so that it couldn’t be installed on Steam Deck (but if you downloaded on the desktop and transferred the game files across, it did work).
This raised the possibility that some game developers were intentionally flagging their titles and blocking them from being installed on Valve’s device, but the Steam Deck maker soon made it clear that this wasn’t the case.
It's allegedly possible for developers to stop users on the #SteamDeck to download their content. https://t.co/rLaMfktMLcApril 26, 2022
In an email to PC Gamer (opens in new tab), Valve explained that: “Before the Deck launch, we added a feature to allow developers to tag certain content/depots as being relevant only for Deck customers.
“This would allow developers to automatically deliver a different default graphics config on Deck, for example. There was a technical issue with the way this feature was shipped, and so unfortunately some content was incorrectly tagged as the reverse (“deliver these depots to every customer *not* on a Deck”).”
Valve further noted that the relevant feature has been updated so it’s not possible for developers to accidentally flag their games as blocked anymore, and for any games which are already in the quandary where they can’t be installed due to this glitch, Valve says it’s “working with partners to fix the issue”.
Analysis: A bit of ado about nothing
This turned out to be a bit of fuss about nothing much, then, thankfully; and hopefully any affected games will be sorted out by Valve and the respective game devs before long.
Valve certainly seems serious about making quick progress with the Steam Deck in terms of responding to issues that pop up, as we’ve seen with the recent beta release that seems to tackle the fan whine problems that some owners have complained about.
Admittedly, the lessened noise does come with a rise in internal temperatures with the device, but remember that the fan fix is still in beta, and hopefully with more testing, any undesirable side-effects should be ironed out. (Note that temps don’t get problematically high, either – PC Gamer itself has done some testing and that’s reportedly the case even with more demanding titles like Elden Ring).
Game compatibility is moving forward with some speed too, as Valve recently let us know that it has now brought over 2,000 games into the verified or playable fold – basically those titles rated as working well with the Steam Deck – and the majority of the most popular PC games are in this category, too.