After a surprising announcement and a hectic day of reservations, numerous PC and handheld gaming fans are looking forward to the release of the Steam Deck. The latest endeavor from Valve combines a player’s Steam Library with a Nintendo Switch-like handheld device, with different storage size options and the ability to connect to various peripherals and monitors.
Since the Steam Deck’s announcement, the developers at Valve have repeatedly driven home the idea that this isn’t a handheld or mobile console, but more like a portable PC with a controller attachment. The Steam Deck runs on an enhanced version of SteamOS, but Valve says you can install third-party software on it or even wipe the OS and install a copy of Windows on it.
So, is it possible to use the Steam Deck without needing a Steam account?
Does the Stream Deck require a Steam account?
Yes and no, but mostly yes. At this current stage, a Steam account is required just to be able to reserve a Steam Deck and pay the $5 reservation fee. In fact, anyone who made a new Steam account just to be able to reserve one wasn’t able to on Friday, July 16 like everyone else. They had to wait until Sunday, July 18 just to be able to reserve.
As for using the Steam Deck itself, according to Valve, the “default Steam Deck experience requires a Steam account.” This is likely due to the Steam Deck’s use of the SteamOS operation system, which does require you to connect a Steam account.
But that same FAQ section clarifies again that the Steam Deck is a PC, “so you can install third party software and operating systems.” So for now, while you’ll need a Steam account to reserve a Steam Deck or use as normal, if you do decide to wipe SteamOS and install Windows or another operating system, you could in theory have a Steam Deck PC that doesn’t require the use of a Steam account at all.
Based on the first wave of hands-on videos that have surfaced, you can use the Steam Deck as a desktop computer by using either a powered USB hub or by purchasing its official dock sometime in the near future. Whether you want to wipe it and turn it into a normal PC with no direct connection to Steam is completely up to you.
Customers who’ve reserved a Steam Deck should expect emails about officially ordering one sometime this December.