Emulation OS Batocera hits Steam Deck with brand new features

Batocera running on Steam Deck
(Image credit: Batocera)

What you need to know

  • Batocera.linux is an open-source operating system designed around video game emulation and is entirely free to download.
  • Based on the Linux operating system, it's compatible with x86 and x64 desktop systems and now supports Valve's Steam Deck console with the latest beta build.
  • Supported platforms include, but aren't limited to, the original Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, and Nintendo 64, but you're required to back up your games yourself.
  • New features include support for light guns, updates to touchscreen compatibility, extra platforms, and Bluetooth drivers for Xbox controllers.

Emulation continues to be a huge selling point for Valve's handheld, expanding your game selection beyond the already extensive Steam library. The latest beta build of Batocera.linux provides an entirely new operating system for the portable console, loaded with the best emulators and their appropriate cores for each platform.

With contributions from the community, Batocera is open source and free to download. Configuration for each emulator is kept to a minimum, and extra features like image-upscaling shaders and gameplay rewinding help enhance your gameplay. Game backups, whether from discs or cartridges, can be transferred to your Steam Deck and played wherever you go with this streamlined OS.

See more

The official website contains a helpful installation guide to start with Batocera, including flashing the operating system to an external storage device and installing it on a desktop PC. The process isn't much different on Steam Deck, but use caution when replacing the default SteamOS or attempting a dual-boot setup.

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, check our guide to emulators on Steam Deck for an explanation of why they're so appealing. Playing retro games feels fantastic with Valve's handheld, thanks to various modern input methods, including analog sticks on games that may have never originally supported them.

You should also stock up on one of the best SD cards for Steam Deck if you sprung for an entry-level 64GB model since game backups can take up a hefty amount of space for platforms made after the turn of the millennium.

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @trzomb@mastodon.online to ask questions or share opinions.