Steam Deck hype ramps up after developers share early praise

Cracking 60fps like a champ.

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Valve’s Steam Deck may not be in gamers’ hands just yet, but developers who have their hands on dev kits are already praising the handheld’s Linux and Proton implementation.

PCGamer spoke with several developers after tweets regarding the Steam Deck’s versatility began popping up. Early on, many gamers feared that using Linux Proton would hinder performance and accessibility. But the opposite appears to be true if developers are to be believed. While the Steam Deck doesn’t work out of the gate with every game, those it does work with appear to have little to no issue.

PCGamer spoke briefly with Valheim developer and designer Jonathan SmÃ¥rs, who was impressed by the Steam Deck’s capabilities.

Valheim worked from day one on Steam Deck without any changes,” SmÃ¥rs told PCGamer. “The graphic settings need to be set down a bit compared to my high-end PC of course, but I’m still impressed with what such a small handheld can handle without any platform-specific optimizations.”

The Iron Gate developer also highlighted the Steam Deck’s ability to get Valheim up and running without making any changes. This is further echoed by PCGamer’s report that most developers it spoke with are expecting a “smooth launch” when it comes to the Steam Deck’s software.

PCGamer also spoke with Raymond Doerr, who is the owner of SixtyGig Games, which develops Rise to Ruins.

“I did have some issues with controls, but my game is not designed for a controller at all, it doesn’t even have the code to detect/respond to controller inputs,” Doerr told PCGamer. “I’ll need to design a controller layout for it, as well as write controller support for the game, but I suspect my game will be playable on it when that’s done.”

Doerr’s faith in the Steam Deck being able to run Rise to Ruins may be a reassurance that these early compatibility issues have a fix and that they’re not wholly related to the Steam Deck’s software.

Considering the initial adverse reaction the community had regarding news that the Steam Deck would run Linux Proton, Valve’s choice appears to be paying off. With many fixable issues like controller detection seemingly unrelated to Linux and more so coming from the games themselves, the rollout of the Steam Deck looks promising.

The Steam Deck verified game list recently surpassed 100 compatible games, with 60 of them being verified and 40 of them being playable. While not all of those games will initially support it, AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) upscaling technology is coming to many titles. Valve’s Steam Deck ships on Feb. 24 to round one reservation holders after it was delayed from December. The second round of reservations is open and will begin shipping sometime in Q2 2022.