Valve’s certified list of Steam Deck “Verified” and “Playable” games has grown to 591 titles today. But that’s not my headline; that’s not the fascinating statistic I want to call your attention to. That number will continue to climb at a steady clip leading up to — and well after — the launch. There is a much more important narrative begging to be discussed. And it proves just how far Linux gaming has come since Valve launched Proton, its Windows compatibility layer for Steam.
I’ll jump straight to the point so you can get on with your day, and maybe share this article. I suspect you’ll want to because it’s exciting! Seriously, it blew my mind once I started looking at the Steam Deck Verified list from a slightly different angle.
REMINDER: Steam Deck Runs Linux
Right now there are 337 games on the “Verified” list (read this to check how many of them are already in your library). These are games that Valve has tested with human beings, and has deemed perfectly playable on Steam Deck. These boast great performance out of the box and recognize all the controller bits. These games also have text that’s large enough, and all the game modes are accessible.
In short, it’s like these games were designed to play on Deck.
Here’s where things get awesome, stick with me.
Of the currently 337 Verified games deemed perfectly playable on Steam Deck — a handheld console running Linux — 267 of those games never had a native Linux port. That’s an impressive 79% of the list.
So, almost 80 percent of the games currently certified to run flawlessly on a handheld Linux game console were never even released for Linux.
I honestly needed a few minutes for that to sink in. That’s a remarkable statistic, and it shows how much Linux gaming has evolved since Valve launched Proton in the summer of 2018.
The Last Hurdle For Linux Gaming: Anti-Cheat
That stat will fluctuate leading up to the Steam Deck launch, but one thing is guaranteed. As Codeweavers continues to fine-tune WINE, and Valve keeps improving Proton’s capabilities, Linux gaming will only get better and better.
The only real hurdle left is anti-cheat systems like EAC and BattlEye. Valve has seemingly expended considerable effort and resources into making these compatible with Linux and Proton. Now it’s up to the developers of games that incorporate it to flick the switch.
That is much more likely to happen if Steam Deck becomes a commercial success. That’s more likely to happen if we don’t even have Fingers crossed, my friends. Fingers crossed.