Valve’s Steam Deck is a work in progress when it comes to features and game compatibility, but the latest update has been hotly anticipated: Windows 10 compatibility.
Regardless of how impressive it is that the portable gaming device can play new releases like Elden Ring, Windows compatibility is a significant step to getting more games on the Steam Deck.
But don’t get too excited. This doesn’t necessarily mean Microsoft’s growing library of Xbox Game Pass titles will suddenly run on Valve’s handheld. An agreement like this would likely be more complex and might not include notable Xbox titles like Halo Infinite.
According to a blog post from Valve, the Steam Deck now has GPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Windows drivers, which are required to play and download titles. Unfortunately, there aren’t audio drivers yet, so the Steam Deck’s speakers won’t work when running Windows 10. USB-C and Bluetooth earbuds/headphones are viable alternative until Windows audio drivers hit the device.
Installing Windows requires also a complete wipe of the Steam Deck’s internal storage, and there’s no way to dual-boot SteamOS and Microsoft’s operating system. Further, The Verge points out that the Steam Deck’s BIOS doesn’t currently support TPM, which is required to install Windows 11.
Hopefully, Windows 10 hitting the Steam Deck is a precursor to a partnership between Valve and Microsoft that brings Xbox Game Pass to the handheld. On the plus side, both Valve founder Gabe Newell and Xbox head Phil Spencer are at least interested in exploring the possibility.
I’ll have a review of the Steam Deck up on MobileSyrup in the coming weeks.