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Steam Deck Verified: a compatibility certification for Valve's console
If the project is not delayed, in a few weeks we should be able to get our hands on the Steam Deck, a portable console designed to exploit the Steam software library.
Little by little, Valve is drawing the outlines of its portable console. Announced in a rather surprising way in mid-July, the Steam Deck is a machine that may remind us of Nintendo's Switch, but in a much more powerful way to bring it closer to a real portable PC. The beast integrates a 7-inch screen with a limited image definition (1280 x 720) so that the CPU/GPU power required is not too important. Since a few days, Valve has set up a page to clarify which game is perfectly designed to run on the Steam Deck and its small screen.
The Steam Deck Verified program has indeed just been deployed by Valve. For the moment it takes the form of a new tab in the pages dedicated to the Steam Deck but will eventually be integrated into the Steam store to guide players. There are currently four levels of "certification" depending on whether the game is "verified", "playable", "unplayable" or "unknown". Of course, this last icon takes the form of a question mark to emphasize that Valve has not yet tested the game.
The "unplayable" icon consists of a no parking sign that, strangely enough, remains entirely gray. This is Valve's way of indicating that the game will not run properly or at all on the Steam Deck. The example given by Valve is quite clear: Half-Life Alyx requires a virtual reality headset to run and therefore can not run on the Steam Deck. The "playable" icon and its small yellow "i" will probably be the most delicate. Indeed, Valve considers that the game is usable, but that a manual configuration is necessary. It remains to be seen how easy or difficult it will be to set up.
The fourth and final stage of this certification is "verified". At this level, Valve believes that " right out of the box, the game works perfectly on Steam Deck ". To do this, it mentions four compatibility criteria:
- The game must be fully compatible with the controllers, use the appropriate controller input icons, and automatically display the on-screen keyboard when necessary.
- The game must support Steam Deck's default image size (1280×800 or 1280×720), offer appropriate default settings, and have readable text.
- The game should not display any compatibility warnings. It must be possible to browse the launcher using the controller.
- If you are using Proton, the game and any associated middleware must be supported by Proton; this includes support for anti-cheat technologies.
Of course, with the Steam catalog consisting of more than 20,000 titles, it will be impossible for Valve to try everything in time for the first Steam Deck arrivals - unless the console is delayed - and there are already plans to continue this certification work early next year. It's a good bet that such a program will make life easier for Steam Deck users, who won't have to look (too hard) to find fully functional games on their machines.