Valve has revealed the Steam Deck Verified system, a new process that will tell owners of its upcoming handheld gaming PC which games in their Steam library are compatible with the device and which ones aren't -- including all VR games.
The Steam Deck was first revealed to the world earlier this summer. To the surprise of pretty much no one, it proved to be an immensely popular device and reservations quickly sold out. Although we knew a fair amount about the console, some questions remained; notably, we can't say for certain which games are playable on the Steam Deck. That's exactly why Valve has created the Steam Deck Verified program.
How the Steam Deck Verified Program Works
The Steam Deck Verified Program uses a set of four icons, each of which will tell you whether or not a game is playable on the Steam Deck (and to what degree). Each icon will tell you, at a glance, just exactly what you're getting when you try to load up a game on the handheld PC.
Here are the icons in question:
Games will be rated with one of four classifications for playability on the Steam Deck:
- Verified - Your game passes all compatibility checks and is a great experience on Steam Deck.
- Playable - Your game functions on Deck, but requires extra steps or manual work from the user.
- Unsupported - Your game does not function on Deck due to incompatibility with Proton or specific hardware components.
- Unknown - Your game hasn't been checked yet.
The explainer video released by Valve today notes that this will be an ongoing process; presumably, it's going to focus on the most popular games first and work its way down from there.
Steam Deck Doesn't Have VR Support - Yet
The Steam Deck is a pretty neat handheld gaming PC, but it does have some downsides: today's explainer video confirmed that the Steam Deck won't have VR support at launch.
"A game that is unsupported just isn't playable on Deck," the narrator said in today's video. "VR games, for example, are all unsupported, as are games that Deck's operating system doesn't work with yet."
While this news is a little disappointing, it's not entirely unexpected considering the small form factor and lower power compared to some of the beefier gaming PCs out there.
However, today's announcement does not necessarily mean that VR will never work on the Steam Deck. Datamined details from a Steam VR update late last month and a patent hint that Valve is currently working on a wireless VR headset code-named "Deckard." Should this device actually launch, Valve may find a way to get it to work with the Steam Deck. These two devices working in concert could give you access to a completely mobile VR experience.
There's also the nature of the Steam Deck itself to consider. While Valve's Steam Deck Verified program is rating games, there are surely some players who will view it as a challenge. This handheld PC, after all, is simply a PC with specialized hardware; there's nothing preventing you from installing a new operating system or tinkering with the hardware.
For now, we'll probably have to wait until some of the craftier modders get their hands on this device. The next wave of Steam Decks is expected to be available after Q2 2022; you can reserve a Steam Deck for yourself right now and secure your place in line for the next batch of handheld gaming PCs from Valve.
Are you disappointed that the Steam Deck won't have VR support at launch? Do you think modders will be able to get VR working on Valve's handheld gaming PC? Let us know in the comments below!