When it launches next year, Valve’s Steam Deck will be able to run a suite of PC games, none of which will be exclusive to it. The mobile console, which is really more of a handheld Steam machine, won’t have any exclusive games according to Valve.
In a beefy FAQ section for developers, Valve says it won’t support exclusive games on its upcoming console. “No, that doesn’t make much sense to us,” reads an FAQ answer. “It’s a PC and it should just play games like a PC.” In short, don’t expect a “killer app” that’s only available on the device.
In terms of the Steam Deck’s messaging so far, that tracks. Valve has marketed the handheld machine as a way for people to play their Steam games on the go, and since Steam is just a PC marketplace and not its own platform, keeping games separate between PC Steam and Steam Deck users would be a bit outlandish.
It’s worth noting though that not every game on Steam is going to be playable on the Steam Deck. Valve is currently going through the assumedly intensive and repetitive process of reviewing every game on Steam for the Steam Deck. Some games will be able to be played with no issue while others, like all the VR games on Steam, won’t be playable at all.
Steam Deck users also won’t have to limit themselves to only playing games that are on Steam. Third-party applications can be downloaded onto and run using the handheld PC, meaning users should be able to play non-steam games.