Why you shouldn't install Windows on a Steam Deck

Steam Deck
Steam Deck (Image credit: Valve)

No, you didn't read the headline wrong. Yes, I really am about to tell anyone who reads this that it would be foolish to buy a Steam Deck and install Windows 10 or even Windows 11 on it.

I can already feel the comments.

But it's true. Even though Valve says you can install Windows on a Steam Deck, it would be a pretty terrible idea and nobody should do it. Just because it is a PC doesn't mean you should completely forego the stock experience.

If Steam Deck was meant to run Windows, it would

Steam Deck

Source: Valve (Image credit: Source: Valve)

Regardless of your opinion of Valve or its head, Gabe Newell, or what you believe their combined masterplan to destroy Windows might be, there's a reason the Steam Deck doesn't run Windows. After all, aside from having to license the software and pass on the added cost to us, the buyers, slapping Windows on Steam Deck and calling it a day would be the easiest thing to do.

Certainly a lot easier than building your own custom Linux-based operating system and designing a controller-friendly user interface to go over it. And of course, with Windows, those pesky compatibility worries and broken anti-cheat software would just go away. It'd be easy! So why wouldn't it just come with Windows?

Have you ever tried to properly navigate Windows without a keyboard and mouse handy? Tablet Mode on Windows 10 is proof enough you need one. And let's not forget that while technically Steam Deck is a PC, its sole purpose as designed is to play games from your Steam library.

Steam Deck

Source: Valve (Image credit: Source: Valve)

Valve is responsible only for making that experience as good as it can be, and the simple truth is that Windows doesn't offer the flexibility needed to turn Steam Deck into a proper games console. Having total control over the software experience gives Valve what it needs to make sure that using a Steam Deck doesn't suck.

As a consumer product that's what matters the most. And for most people what it runs underneath doesn't mean a thing so long as their games work. And by all accounts Valve is still pushing as hard as it can to make Proton work with everything on Steam, including that pesky anti-cheat.

Then you consider support. Valve will be supporting SteamOS on the Steam Deck, continually making it better, and working in tandem with the hardware it had custom designed. You won't get support on Windows, and there's no guarantee what your experience would even be. Be honest, how many times has a Windows update broken something on your PC that you've been quite cross about? Is it really worth the effort and the potential trouble just because you "prefer Windows?"

No. No, it isn't.

There are already Windows-based gaming handhelds on sale

Gpd Win 3

Source: GPD (Image credit: Source: GPD)

The other side of the coin is that you can already get a Windows 10-based handheld PC targeted at gaming. You can actually get a few. They're not new either, the idea has been around for years, going right back to the first GPD Win.

GPD alone has a couple of compelling products on its hands right now in the Win Max and the Win 3. The former is a more traditional laptop, just tiny, and with an integrated game controller. The GPD Win 3 is a stunning and quite mad sliding-affair where the display pops up to reveal a keyboard below. Both of these use Intel CPUs and integrated graphics, but you don't have to spend long on YouTube to see what you can do with that. Apex Legends at 60 FPS, anyone?

Aya Neo

Source: AYA (Image credit: Source: AYA)

There are others out there, too, and on a hardware front, the Aya Neo is closer to the Steam Deck as it uses AMD for the CPU and graphics which makes it a potent little handheld. It doesn't bother with a keyboard, so personally, I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy navigating it, but it's a phenomenal thing and you can buy it right now.

These all run Windows out of the box with drivers and firmware and whatnot all optimized properly. What they also have in common is that they're quite a bit more expensive than the Steam Deck, or at least, the lower two spec Steam Decks. Part of that is probably the Windows license, but more likely since these are small companies they're not building at the scale Valve is shooting for, so getting the cost down is more difficult.

Nevertheless, if you want a gaming handheld that runs Windows, you're better off just buying one in the first place. Let Valve do its own thing with Steam Deck, and hopefully, it'll be tremendous.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

  • Seriously, if you already know you'll get people angry with your bullshitting, why post it? The whole poing of buying non-locked devices is that we can do whatever we want with them, no matter how pointless and unpractical it might be.
  • Because I work here and unless my boss says no I get to write informed pieces such as this. Also, thanks for clicking on this post you clearly think isn't worth the click. Helps feed my kids.
  • Good article, I am 100% pro Linux, but your readers are windows trash, that have no idea how ****** windows is for end users.
  • Many people came here for "GraniteStateColin" because of his comment. Which spread like wild fire in Linux subreddit's. So thank him for writing the comment ;) For your article here are some posts of it on Reddit:
    O https://teddit.net/r/linux_gaming/comments/otuqz1/windows_central_why_yo... O https://teddit.net/r/linuxmasterrace/comments/oub0qv/proton_is_stealing1/
  • Obviously. This is an informed opinion. It was never presented as fact, and it might offend you, but it is an opinion.
  • Yes buy non-locked devices so you can install custom Linux kernels or a BSD, not Crap OS, but no one's going to stop you.
  • Richard, I agree with your reasoning, but all the more reason that Windows Central should not promote this product. It's intended to run Windows Games (some have said, "They're not Windows Games they're PC games!", but according to Valve and Proton, they're Windows games: "Proton is a new tool released by Valve Software that has been integrated with Steam Play to make playing Windows games on Linux as simple as hitting the Play button within Steam." from https://www.protondb.com/). But it doesn't pay a license fee to Microsoft. It provides a broken experience (though I agree with you that via Linux they can more easily customize it for the hardware). This is technically legal, but ethically an anti-MS pirate device. It harvests Microsoft's extensive investments in WINDOWS gaming and steals that value for Steam users. At a time when MS has recently been trying so hard to play nice with everyone, including Valve by putting MS Studio games on Steam, this is a product based on Gabe's personal spite against MS. I hope MS removes its games from Steam and adopts a war footing. Whether they do or not, Valve is treating this as a war and is on the offensive.
  • Don't try to twist the context in which I said that to you as you make it PAINFULLY clear you have not done what I implored you to do and learn the proper usage of possessive nouns. That being said, the quote you provided further backs MY point so thank you.
  • Mister Burns, I have never (to my knowledge, unless it were via typo), called them "Windows' Games." Is that what you're suggesting by use of possessive? Clearly Microsoft doesn't own them (nor does Windows as an OS own them). The game publishers own them and provide licenses to their customers to use them. Calling them "Windows games," as Valve does, is descriptive not possessive. This would be the same as calling them Xbox, Mac, or Linux games. The Steam Deck is designed to run Linux and Windows games. The lion's share of its library comprises Windows games.
  • I know what it is but you were arguing otherwise. Msbj was great for them coming from you.
  • Damm, I don't even think MS employees white knight for a trillion dollar corporation as much as you.
  • Hehe, that may be. For me it's a matter of principal. I'm not even an MS stockholder. Valve's business practices have been like this for years, long before the Steam Deck: aggressive and hypocritical.
  • The lip service is absurd
  • Maybe one day he will "make computing great again" ;D
  • Well you're right in what you say. This is still an attempt by Valve to undermine Microsoft. It's a feeble afterthought of an attempt made with the SteamOS machines, but it's part of the same plan by them. And yeah, it is something of a crappy move by Valve overall, who have built a gaming empire leveraging the existence of Windows gaming. And now they're big they want to break away from it, offering a subpar experience?
    I'd say it's laughable, but they're serious about their plans.
  • Nicely said and great point on the historical parallels with SteamOS.
  • "it is something of a crappy move by Valve overall, who have built a gaming empire leveraging the existence of Windows gaming"
    Why should Steam have any loyalty, it's a business. Even if it did matter, Microsoft broke the loyalty first by making a game store which means Microsoft is directly competing with Steam. This also because of the position means Microsoft has crazy power over steam as Steam depends on Windows for most of their customers (hint hint, this is why they are investing into Linux). Microsoft could harm Steam with the influence they have with Windows (similar to Google sabotaging Firefox). If you try to make the argument "That's illegal/Microsoft would never do that" google "Microsoft Antitrust Case" and "Microsoft AARD", this is exactly why Steam is trying hard to get away from Microsoft, staying could potentially kill them. I am not going to say Linux is better or Windows is worse, use what works for you, this isn't about stupid OS wars but this is why they are investing into Linux. I will also make the argument that "Windows Gaming" isn't a thing Microsoft made, they may have made some gaming technologies like DirectX, but the vast majority of the technology was made by the game developers. If Mac had the marketshare Windows had when gaming started becoming popular, it would likely have as games aswell, "Windows Gaming" is just the result of it being the biggest platform to target. Because no one controls Linux, they will not have to be under the control of any business, this is not an attempt to become more of a monopoly. Don't get me wrong, there are reasons to dislike Steam, high commission cost, DRM, monopoly, but this just isn't a reason.
  • "This is technically legal, but ethically an anti-MS pirate device. It harvests Microsoft's extensive investments in WINDOWS gaming and steals that value for Steam users."
    Steve Balmer just blew his cover in the comments section. Are you going to accuse Valve of being communist also? A compatibility layer that seeks to widen compatibility and accessibility, providing an alternative to a monopolistic behemoth is piracy? Microsoft has no say in whether or not this is "piracy". That call should be left up to game developers and even then I would have an incredibly hard time accepting that Proton is a piracy tool.
  • Devs wouldn't. It's a great move for all consumers but them msbjs be unbelievable
  • I know right
  • What investments have Microsoft made into gaming? Of the ones you could find, how many has wine/proton "stolen"? How many of these investments are not already available on Linux? Nothing was stolen, it's a compatibility layer, it's just converting Windows system calls to POSIX system calls, everything that isn't available has to be developed or reverse engineered. "At a time when MS has recently been trying so hard to play nice with everyone, including Valve by putting MS Studio games on Steam, this is a product based on Gabe's personal spite against MS"
    Putting a game onto a platform isn't "playing nice" it's business and making money, it's competing as it should do. There will be boosted sales from Steam so the only reason there would be not to not put onto Steam would be from hatred or an attempt to lock people into their eco-system, either reason being a bad one. "anti-MS pirate device" You still need to buy the game, I am confused what you mean by this. I would not call proton a "broken experience" as 76% of games are gold+ on protondb, I'd imagine the reason the Steam Deck is coming out now is to show Linux as a gaming platform and work with developers to get more games through proton otherwise proton would stay stuck since most games not working are due to anti-cheat and DRM.
  • We're not in the business of promoting products unless we have been paid for a sponsored campaign. Such content is always clearly labelled. What we're doing is covering a Windows-adjacent product that is clearly of interest to PC gamers. That's not a guess, doesn't take many metrics to see a lot of people are looking for information on the Steam Deck, in part I'd guess because of their trollout of information through a single, carefully selected media outlet. What we do across our team is (hopefully) inform, provoke discussion, provide information that people can then use to make their own decisions.
  • Hi, I'd like to intersect for a moment. What both you and Valve themselves have referred to as Windows games are in fact PC games, meant to run on a Personal Computer or Desktop. On this desktop is software called Windows, which has the highest market share in Desktop operating systems. This does not make PC games Windows games, however this term is only to be used in clarification of what is meant to define PC games as opposed to dofferent systems alike, but not limited to console and mobile games. This a specific choice of words to clear up PC games to illiterate idiots like you. PC gaming means to play on a desktop. It should not specify what operating system or surrounding software is being meant. Microsoft, the maker of Windows, is not in posession nor linked to most of the PC games you play, and the developers are not forced to relese their game for Windows, therefore making any game a PC game and not a Windows game. Now go have funplaying your Windows games in your ignorant bliss, you happy little right-wing capitalist exploitation fan!
  • OMG please stop. I've already got cramps from laughing and bc you are absolutely right.
  • Gods damn it I love this. How dare you.
  • right-wing capitalist anti-exploitation fan here I run Linux because I love competition, the essence of capitalism.
  • If you want you can call Windows Computer Games and Linux Computer Games or WC and LC games
  • >But it doesn't pay a license fee to Microsoft. Other companies take fees for having someone publish for their console. MS is free to do so, too. (Maybe they already do? Idk) But with the purchase of the game all necessary fees are paid. And since the game is purchased it's not pirated. So there isn't any harm done. And most of the Linux users already bought another device with an OEM Windows license which is unused because they installed Linux or whatever. But still (most of the time) they are forced to buy the included license. (Even it the fee for OEM is low). It's a petty argument you are making.
  • This would have actually made sense if it would have been an Apple site but I never expected to see someone like you on a Microsoft site. Anyway you do you.
  • Microsoft does not own the rights to all the games that run on windows. Wine is simply an implementation of the windows api that runs on linux, it does not violate any copyright. Being loyal to a mega corporation's operating system will do more harm than good for you. Microsoft gets a lot of support from developers simply because of its popularity, they rarely if at all help developers develop their games on windows.
    Staying loyal to a corporation will do you more harm than good, you clearly do not understand anything about how the games this stuff works.
  • The license fee that Windows charges is for the operating system, not for some vague "right" to run windows-compatible software. This is like saying that buying a US-Europe plug adapter is cheating the electric utility out of a subscription, like, no, that's not how this works.
  • Piracy implies that you're getting something for free that betrays the EULA, and is a loss for the company. What you pay for with a Windows PC, is the parts comprising the machine, as well as the cost of the license for a copy of Windows 10 Home or Pro. But that license is to pay for the cost of using software specifically written by Microsoft, and partners to the manufacturer (e.x. HP laptops preloaded with Windows 10 Home, ExpressVPN, Dropbox with a promotion, McAfee LiveSafe's 30-day free trial, etc). WINE, Proton, Crossover, ReactOS, et al. are all programs or, in the case of ReactOS, a complete OS, that makes no use of code written by Microsoft. Instead, it's all reverse-engineered. IBM had some events in the 90s with OS/2, as it was capable of running some DOS and Windows software. But therein is a difference, IBM had licensed from Microsoft to run those programs using official Windows and MS-DOS code. Per the legal proceedings of Accolade V. Sega in 1991, and with some basic correlation to Sony v. Connectix in 1999 for software emulation, clean room engineering and reverse-engineering are entirely, and commercially, valid. There is no official Microsoft Windows code implemented in any of the softwares I mentioned that Valve and the Linux community are using to make this a reality. Regardless of the ethics, it is valid, and Valve is making no small effort to remind the world that Microsoft is *still* monopolistic, just as they were in the late 90s.
  • Oh I hope MS removes its games from steam and start a war. Oh boy will that be fun times for consumers!
    Linux pirating MS :D Do you realize that MS uses tons of linux and free software to run their day to day buisiness?
  • Piracy is awesome Microsoft has never played nice now or ever because they haven't made Windows open source to start. They also did their best to kill Linux but just couldn't do it.
  • Windows is not Open Source, but MS-DOS is. So they kind of made Windows Open Source because in the MS-DOS era (Windows 1.0 - Windows 3.0) were running on MS-DOS. But Windows 3.1 changed that. Before Windows 3.1 Windows was simply a Desktop Environment, an experiment by Microsoft to emulate popularity of Macintosh Desktop Environment and other Operating Systems at the time.
  • Windows license to run windows games..lol You are pretty pathetic and FYI MS came back because they want to sell to the Multi million steam users versus the handful of MS store users. I wonder if I have to pay MS a fee for running dos games in dosbox... I find it appalling you think that proton on Linux is piracy... someone should report your comments as garbage.
  • Just like Microsoft does with linux with both it's cloud platform, and windows subsystem for linux.
    Not to mention just how much personal computing has benefited from linux for the server infrastructure that makes the majority of the web and thus the majority of the PC experience possible. Microsoft even stated that WINE and WSL were great examples of why API's should not behind paywalls in the Oracle v Google case. Stating it "benefits the original creator and the follow on developer ---and utimatly the consumer".
  • Are you suffering the Stockholm syndrome?
  • If that's your reasoning, then every Windows device is also an ethically anti-Linux pirate device because of Windows Subsystem for Linux. Microsoft uses Linux in WSL solely for its own benefit, to strengthen the Windows monopoly in the desktop os space and Linux itself, which is barely 2% in desktop os market share, gets very little in return.
  • Can't you just install steam big picture and solve the issue?
  • Exactly. Make Big Picture mode the default and set the device to start Steam on boot up. Problem solved.
  • Why you want to give away more of your money than required?
  • Big Picture is being replaced. By Steam DecK UI. So again...why bother running software that isn't going to be officially supported with drivers and what not when you would have the exact same experience just leaving it as you find it? What does Windows give you besides potential problems and a guarantee you can play like, four popular games out of many thousands of excellent games.
  • The Steam Deck UI is going to be in all versions of the Steam client I believe since BPM is totally going away.
  • That's a bit of a misnomer to say it's going away. It's more valid to say they're changing the interface, much like the dashboard changes on the 360 (Blades, NXE, Metro) or One (from Win8 Core to 10 Core). They'll also certainly be keeping the original desktop interface, as even in the promotional videos showcasing the Deck docked, they have the current Steam Friends list full-screened to the Deck display.
  • That still provides an inferior experience than using it stock would give you. Outside of some specific use cases, SteamOS will be able to do anything you'd need out of the box.
  • I don't get the article (and some of the comments) The windows tablet experience isn't horrible. At the same time, a lightweight linux build can use up a lot less resources. So, leaving more resources available to run games AND not upping the price by including Windows seems more likely than this clickbait article.
  • You clearly don't understand what clickbait actually is but thanks for clicking and providing another meal for my kids this month.
  • Not clickbait given there's valid issues. At least initially, there's no guarantee that AMD will be providing chipset drivers for this APU. Will those come down the pipeline? Most certainly, AMD has an obligation to support all of their current hardware. I doubt Valve is vindictive enough to tell AMD not to release those chipset drivers, that would smack of a similar issue that right-to-repair advocates have regarding companies like Apple and Samsung, who tell their manufacturers not to offer the parts needed for a non-authorized individual to repair their products. And mind, the average consumer won't go through that much trouble on their $400+ product if there's a higher risk it'll perform worse. Compromise is key.
  • The thing is that games are optimized to run on Windows, ... So more resources doesn't sometimes translate in better performance. It will really depend from game to game. Every game is a single case. Btw in the end people will just game in their preferable OS and we are all happy.
  • I think it’s too early to say that Windows won’t work well. For those of us interested in experimenting with installing Windows, the most important factors will be whether it’s easy to reinstall SteamOS/reset to factory if we get the device borked up. The guides on how to do so will be something I’ll watch for with interest. And, of course, we all have to carefully consider the tradeoffs of preordering, vs waiting for hands-on reviews. Personally, I’m comfortable preordering, since I believe this device’s resale value should be solid, but I could be surprised!
  • I think you nailed it. Those who are interested in trying to use the device with Windows as their sole computing device (with monitor, etc.) can do that, and if dual-booting is possible all the better. People should be able to do what they can with the device and should be able to restore factory settings if they would also like to do that. Why can't they have access to both options?
  • Has Valve said you can dual boot?
    Will the hardware support it? Will Valve?
  • Is there any reason to assume one CAN'T dual-boot? If it runs an AMD APU and otherwise standard PC-like components, what would prevent it? If anything, what will prevent it is Windows itself, ironically. Linux usually installs the GRUB bootloader to make it bootable, and you can modify GRUB to add parameters for specialty booting, or even load up different versions of the Linux kernel, as well as have Windows on the list. However, in my multiple occasions dual-booting, Windows 10 was the first one to actively fight me with my dual-boot, often overwriting GRUB with the Windows bootloader, and requiring me to just run a dual-drive solution. If anything prevents dual-booting, I'm expecting it to be Windows itself.
  • Have you tried dual-booting Windows and Linux before? I'm going to assume not.
  • Since it's a standard PC, it should be able to.
  • In the end, people will do it, and we'll all see how it works. And it will be perfectly useable, and for most of us, a preferrable experience.
    You know why? You set it up to start Steam at startup and make it open BigScreen mode. There you go, everything works as intended. Not as a hack, but as intended by Valve themselves.
  • But for most people there's actually no reason to go trough the process of installing and Setting up Windows. Most often the reasons for doing that that I've seen have been purely from not knowing that almost all games are going to work out of the box.
  • hmm you can do the same thing in Linux easily, not a hack.. but I find that many people on these comments have never used Linux or are trolls or just mentally stupid... probably a lot of each.
  • The main reason why Steam Deck is interesting is precisely because the Windows handheld PCs already in existence are prohibitively expensive and the support varies from non-existent to, "you must send this to China and eat the cost while waiting months for service". Plus, the touch experience is being greatly improved with Windows 11. At the end of the day, whether or not people keep Steam OS will depend on the (dubious) claims that all the games will run as well as on Windows and that Valve will get the anit-cheat systems working for the games that aren't currently available on Linux. If it doesn't work, you have the option to install Windows on a handheld device that is significantly cheaper to get than anything from GPD, One Netbook, or the Aya Neo.
  • Will Steam Deck even run Windows 11 according to Microsoft's min requirements?
  • Keep in mind that Windows 10 is technically not supposed to go smaller than 8 inches and yet it runs well enough on all the currently available handheld PCs, most of which are 7 inches and under. However, Taki Udon over on Youtube actually has a video up on Windows 11 running on the Aya Neo, The GPD Win 2 version that meets the TPM requirements, and the GPD Win Max. It seems to run fine and, per him, the touch interface works better than 10 did. If you want to see it in action, search Youtube for "Windows 11 on Gaming Handhelds". If you want to see more on how the Windows gaming handhelds perform, look up The Phawx, Taki Udon, and ETA Prime who cover these things extensively.
  • I'll be installing windows 11 too from day one on steam deck. :)
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrhVFbWCn_k
  • You know what will happen in reality? As you said, not all games will work, not all games that work will work right, and as always with Linux, it's full of compromises, and promises that "if you tweak this, download that, update that" it *could* work. Windows is already a bit far from "it just works" as it is. But with games there's no contest. Linux still has a lot of work to do and a lot to prove. So IMHO putting Windows there will be a good experience mainly because of compatibility. Well worth paying for the license.
  • fdruid, indeed. And surely, unless he's blinded himself from his own spin, Gabe knows that too. Hence my conclusion that it's just anti-MS spite to not even offer a Windows version of the Steam Deck. He's almost certainly guaranteeing his users a worse experience. Richard Devine's points in the article are that Windows, as the core UI, wouldn't be great on this device. And he may be right about that, but Valve COULD have chosen to write a launcher than replaced the Windows shell just to run the Steam stuff. It wouldn't be any more work than doing the same for Linux, though it may be tougher to hide Windows underneath.
  • Valve has been developing Proton and SteamOS for a long time. Why wouldn't they use it? You know that even though Steam Machines are completely dead you could get an updated build of SteamOS to install yourself as far as 2019. When presumably development shifted to SteamOS 3 which moves to Arch Linux.
  • I think it's a rather smart move to use Proton and SteamOS. They will have the option for full control and optimization where they want.
  • >Valve COULD have chosen Microsoft could have chosen to let regular apps be installed on Xbox
    Sony could have chose to allow other OSes to be installed
    Same goes for Nintendo I think we can be a bit thankful that the Steam Deck offers a different openness.
    Also this is the first time I see an old debate the other way around. With all the Windows devices where people go and install Linux this is a Linux first device and people can go and install Windows. And in both occasions things will need tinkering and drivers.
  • I have 1500 games on steam, Manjaro arch user for many years, I can run natively about 1450 games or so now.. Its been a long journey but proton is delivering. Now we can also play Epic games, GOG games and Steam games. Windows UI for touch will drive people crazy on a hand held device.
  • >Linux still has a lot of work to do and a lot to prove. Then it's even better that they invest so heavily in furthering the development.
    Leveling the playing field will be beneficial for the consumer.
  • Valve has announced that BattleEye and EAC support as well as other improvements are coming to Proton by the time the Steam Deck releases. Proton already "just works" with the majority of games, and with the coming updates it will allow for most online games to work as well. Programs like Lutris also do the work of setting up Wine for non-steam games for you as well, simplifying that process. Also, keep in mind that the whole devices is oriented around Linux / SteamOS. It's still yet to be seen how the hardware works with Windows.
  • If you've tried to play games through proton, you'd know that hitting the play button runs 80% of the games outright. With anti cheat support that number will only go up.
  • ladydias, I completely agree with your assessment.
  • In the age of Game Pass, how can you not install Windows?
  • Definitely a solid point. I know I would want to run Game Pass games there too.
  • Because from Valve's perspective, Game Pass is a direct competitive threat to Steam. It's unfortunate, because the data appears to show that Game Pass usage actually increases game purchasing and doesn't cannibalize it, so Valve could have tried to leverage that by setting it up to support Game Pass and then direct users to buy games through Steam if they leave GamePass, but Valve is so anti-MS, they don't think in win-win ways like that.
  • It's not up to Valve, but it's up to Microsoft to open their Game pass. Microsoft could very well work with Valve, hell, they already have some of their games on Steam, with new titles being released right alongside Steam as well as other platforms. Microsoft could also just open up the way the Xbox app works to allow 3rd party developers to work on it, meaning it would cost them absolutely nothing but would benefit them with the profit from Steam Deck / Linux users. Valve isn't anti Microsoft, Microsoft is against opening up their platforms.
  • Its Microsoft being a closed garden... again people fail to see the true facts.
  • Valve should not forget then that it was thank to windows that they got their business model running. Their success came from all users running Windows and not from Linux users lol. I think they didn't forget that or they would just lock steam deck to SteamOs and have the same end as steam machines. Many people want windows and steam on top of it. Steam deck can do that, so it will sell a lot. Vale knows it. Then there is a minority of users who will be buying for Linux... Those users will still be happy as much as Windows users. Like we are when we use a desktop on whatever OS... There is no need to argue. If Linux works better for you, get it and have fun, Microsoft will work better for me so I will be on MS win. No hate or love brands or corps... I use what's convenient for me.
  • Can't you use Game Pass on the browser?
  • Does it matter? What's the point in trying to convince a Windows user to be on Linux when he won't have the patience and time to learn the Linux commands and to be able to debug when a problem occurs. Let them enjoy on Windows and that's it. No matter what OS, the point here is to play some games on whatt OS you want.
  • My main concern as a Windows user would be if the controls would work well. Do they show up as devices with proper drivers in Windows?
  • Windows would be more money spent than the games I would play off of game pass personally.
    But I also just prefer the Plasma desktop environment and definitely prefer the command line of my Linux machine, so even if I did I would probably just do something like LookingGlass and play the games in a VM and pass the outputs to my main linux desktop anyways.
  • what about Windows 95?
  • Richard's Linux love is upsetting for all of us, friends
  • :-) I know I'm the biggest critic of this Valve business model here, but I confess I too like Linux. I've built consumer devices that are based on Linux for similar reasons. The key difference: I didn't set the marketing message to be that we run Windows applications without requiring a Windows license. ALL of our software was either open source or written by our game developers to run on Linux in the first place. Last time I recall a company promoting that it ran Windows stuff, it was IBM's OS2 (and that's because they owned the rights to Windows from a prior contract with Microsoft around the original development of Windows 3 before they parted ways, a valid claim, unlike Valve's).
  • Wow your not too intelligent. You can install windows on the device as its unlocked as it should be. No rooting etc... Arch is far better than windows, and really all valve is saying you bought the hardware, its yours do what you want with it. I would imagine most smart people would be happy about that.
  • The other major company promoting that it can run another OS's programs is Microsoft:
    https://devblogs.microsoft.com/commandline/announcing-wsl-2/ Better operability is just a better way to go as more software goes toward the faster paced more user focused open source model.
  • Right! And with his logic, Microsoft is stealing from Google by having Windows 11 run Android applications.
  • Android is an open source operating system for mobile devices and a corresponding open source project led by Google. Microsoft is not stealing from Google. They are using what is open source to keep up their game. Users will then have the same apps on their phones and their fav OS... Microsoft would only be stealing from Google if they stole their stock android version... Or from Samsung if they stole the code from their android version... In fact it is great news for Google to have android apps running on Windows... It means that from there it will be a standard...
  • You shut your damn mouth Jez.
  • Is Microsoft's love for Linux upsetting you, too?
    Do you hate them because they use Linux? Or because they have their own Linux distribution? The "fight" between Microsoft and Linux is long gone and replaced by modern thinking.
  • Microsoft does not love linux, they have a pseudo linux distro, since they have too, not since they want it. And the wsl stuff is for devolopers that likes to use linux tools to use windows with linux tools, instead of using linux, its one way of killing off the competition. It only shows that microsoft sees linux as a serios competitor finally. They always used the asimilate and destroy tactic, many times to kill off the competition. There is no modern thinking at all, its what microsoft do and have done always.
  • @Urectum it was a joke, please unwind yourself and relax
  • Funny how it's always a joke when someone responds. Back in my day we marked the jokes with an emoticon.
    But I've been relaxed and still am.
  • Think Windows 8 is the beginning of Valve deciding to compete against Windows? As a Linux user, I thank Microsoft for putting Valve in this path :D
  • Stupid. If it is about UI, Steam in Big Picture mode on Windows is better option than SteamOS. Not to mention many other options you will get installing Windows, like other stores...
  • You can easily run "other stores" on Linux too without needing to install Windows. It's not remotely difficult. One app called Lutris can install Epic, Ubisoft, Battle.net, Humble, GOG and Origin. They don't use Proton, instead a different version of WINE. But it's all WINE and it all works. Anti-cheat is the enemy though. So no, it's not stupid. What's stupid is is saying something is stupid when you quite clearly have no experience of the tools you're saying are stupid.
  • Yes, but how many games can you run compared to Windows? And if you run them through WINE or something else, are they going to work good as on Windows? I don't think so. It's stupid to say that no one should install Windows on Steam Deck. It's ok for Valve to ship it with SteamOS, to make it cheaper. But if Valve allow it to install other OS anyone who knows how to install Windows should do it. Or learn how to install it.
  • There are several games that are provably better running with Proton than on a native Windows build, especially older games using DX8, 9, or 10, due to DXVK. It's translating DirectX API calls to Vulkan calls, and Vulkan has vastly superior performance capabilities since it can use the CPU to spread out the workload better. Sure, it's stupid to say no one should install Windows, but I argue if there is any software that you NEED to run that only works on Windows, you shouldn't buy a Steam Deck to begin with. Buy one of the systems that have Windows on it to begin with. Aya Neo, GPD Win, the OneNotebook.
  • That is actually very stupid. To advise someone to buy something else just because they want to use a system with windows instead of steamOs or any other Linux OS. If the hardware is capable of running Windows and they support it, then he is free to buy steam os to Run it there. I will probably do the same thing. I don't need now to find complicated tutorials just to find workarounds to do what is native on Windows. Linux is great, I work on it but it can lead to many problems too... And sometimes the workarounds won't cover all cases. So to why other more expensive hardware for the same effect when he can have steam and all stores installed on Windows OS. Steam deck magic is that... To be able to use the OS you want to game in a portable form factor. If the performance is great with gaming no matter what the OS.. then we all win coz we can select the OS we want... If you like Linux fine, if people game on Windows and want to have it shared across their windows OS devices, fine. It's a win win situation.
  • You have full access to other stores trough wine / Lutris or trough alternative launchers like Heroic for EGS. You really only miss out on Windows store / Xbox due to Microsoft DRM.
  • The point you only miss is in fact the problem. Probably you miss in discord or in less popular stores or in anti cheat or in emulators or whatever. Every case is a case. Most people will just use the most famous stores but even so you need so Linux knowledge to install and decompress stuff... It is just now something everyone has the time, skill and patience to do. Windows is install to install and to execute software... The good point is that anyone is free to choose the system. :)
  • I would argue that it takes less skill and patience to install and use software on linux. A vast majority (99.9%) of applications are available through an app store (eg pamac on manjaro). Microsoft doesn't have that level of availability on the windows store. The last time I had to install a program from a zip was installing a niche programing language that they "recommend" to install using their custom installer rather than the system app store. In regards to other stores, discord and emulators, they are all readily available. Discord can be installed through your systems app store / package manager. Other stores are available through lutris (imagine steam but you can use any store backend), including GOG, battlenet, steam, origin, uplay and others. Emulators like rpcs3 and dolphin will run natively and I have used rpcs3 on linux and can say it runs just fine. From my experience, time, skill and patience is mostly required when you go really deep into linux customization or use programs explicitly designed for efficiency with a high learning curve (eg i3 and vim). If you don't want to spend that time or don't have the skill, you can just use more user-friendly alternatives, like the ones that are installed on steamos and not customize your system. Edit: Whilst anti-cheat doesn't currently work on linux, there are people at facepunch who develop rust using easyanticheat have rust running through proton on linux. We can expect that by the launch of the steam deck, that will be publicly available, meaning anticheat with most major games will be fixed.
  • As someone who plays games on linux, I can assure you that origin, the epic store, battle.net, gog galaxy work fine as far as my experience goes.
  • Why would I want to run a crappy OS though? And you can install other stores like Valve has been promoting. I have Battle net installed on my machine. BPM will be the same on Linux as it is on Windows so it's not a better option.
  • What did you just called a crappy OS?
  • Windows, which has been a steaming pile of **** since windows 8 and continues to be even in 11
  • I happen to highly disagree regarding Windows 8.x being a 'pile of ****', as it provided a better experience for me compatibility wise than Windows 7..
    and happened to run better, funnily enough. The recommended fix to the start screen is to just download Open-Shell and have a good time.
  • Valve always planned on competing against Microsoft & Windows. It's why they invested heavily on Steam for Linux & Proton. Also, being based on Linux will be great on system resources. The heaviest desktop environment (GNOME) will still be lighter than Windows, and Plasma (what SteamOS is using) is one of the lighter desktops.
  • LOL that is so NOT true. The new SteamOS look and feel is coming to big picture this fall. Linux will run faster than windows and all that cruft they add to track you.
  • You know that you can stop any tracking process on Windows right? If you know about linux and how to stop daemons and so on, you probably know that Windows is just another OS with a list of processes running. Now a base windows with all stuff deactivated will run just fine. Let people choose their favourite OS, no one is arguing about what you will do with your steam deck. I will install windows for a few many reasons, you stick to Linux for your reasons. And we are both fine and happy with our steam decks.
  • This was definitely a short but an enjoyable read. Do remember that the unpleasant comments are the vocal minority. Don't let them deter you from writing honest articles!
  • Well I'm a Linux gamer and used Linux exclusively for a long time, this device is great news for our ecosystem. Just to remind everyone there are already a lot of games on steam with native linux versions, and while linux has great api translation tools for running windows programs (Wine and Proton) Windows also has Linux API tools (WSL ) For running Linux software on windows.
    Valve developing and deploying linux like this also breaks up Microsofts hegemony, and hopefully valve can move into a position where steamOS can compete for marketshare with microsoft directly. Because microsofts domination of the PC space is NOT good for consumers
  • Be blessed for making me learn a new word.
    Also I couldn't agree more with what you've said.
  • Nice article with valid and well laid out points. Cool to see such a well reflected piece.
    Now I am eager to grab some popcorn and read the comments :D
    I love stupid people!
  • Then watch yourself
  • Once I get my hands on steam deck, first that I will do is to install w11 on it. That is the only way I can get the value of such hardware. The benefits of using windows on this device is unlimited all games and all apps. I can even use it as on the go PC for MS office and light photo editing with photoshop / lightroom and video editing. Checkout this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrhVFbWCn_k
  • You have no idea what you are talking about... you can can all those software on linux, people who do not know / understand should not speak. Windows will result in a subpar experience and there is NOTHING windows does that linux cant... unless its spy on you, collect your PII.
  • There are several machines before this one that could have fit the criteria you're looking for, with better particular specs like higher storage and screen resolution, including ones that have actual keyboards already built-in, like the GPD Wins, or the One-Netbook OneGx.
    Have fun being *that guy* trying to edit video with trackpads, or alternatively, that guy putting up the bluetooth peripherals in the coffee shop. No one envies you.
  • Yeah that's right, don't install an operating system that can play every game in your collection,including every game on GamePass. Keep the pre installed operating system that will allow you to play 70% of your games. You know it makes sense. You don't even need 30% of your game library anyway.
    The Author is not taking into account the device has a Micro SD card slot. By the time the device hits the market, somebody will have created a custom Boot loader to detect and launch Windows 11 from the SD card. You will then be able to run windows in Kiosk mode and launch Steam Deck (Big Screen) mode at startup and enjoy the benefits of both operating systems. SteamOS won't load your game? Restart the device and boot into windows. Windows can detect Linux partitions and allow you to create folders in those partitions, meaning you would still be able to install games to the SSD and simply boot the operating system from the micro SD.
    The question I would like to know is, if SteamOS uses Windows files on top of Proton to emulate Windows. Would Steam in a dual boot configuration be able to share the library from the SSD. Meaning you could install a game in SteamOS then reboot into windows and Steam on Windows would detect the files and make the game available on Windows Steam. This would mean you could install on Steam OS, If the game didn't work, boot into windows and just press play. Has anybody tried this with a Dual Boot with SteamOS with both Steam in Windows and SteamOS on Linux sharing the same Library folder on the hard drive ?