No Steam Deck 2 on the near horizon, but two great features that could improve Valve’s machine even further in terms of compatible games and user experience.
The Steam Deck has democratized the concept of hybrid portable consoles since its release in 2022. If certain manufacturers already offered machines of this type before, such as the Chinese Ayaneo, Valve’s console has clearly opened the way to a new market for players like Asus or Lenovo.
If the competition now offers much more powerful machines (thanks to AMD’s Z1 Extreme), the Steam Deck has a unique and perfectly optimized user experience. We shouldn’t expect Steam Deck 2 for a few years, but the machine should bring two features in 2024 that could change everything.
Even more games compatible with ULWGL
Valve’s proposal, however, is quite unique in that it arrives with its own system, SteamOS, based on the Linux kernel and the Arch Linux distribution, fully exploiting the Proton compatibility layer developed in-house.
A tool like Proton-GE allows you to play other unsupported titles, but also to offer numerous performance fixes. Its author Thomas Crider (nicknamed GloriousEggroll), to whom we also owe Wine-GEembarked on a major project with other developers.
Unified Linux Wine Game Launcher will offer, as its name suggests, a universal launcher for all games outside of Steam. It is based on the work of GloriousEggroll, Bottles, Lutris and Heroic, which already offers to launch titles present on GOG or the Epic Games Store for example. Each of the titles will launch with its own settings and compatibility scripts to allow you to expand your library even further.
However, this is only a proof of concept for these avengers on the Steam Deck, but we hope that the project will come to fruition by the end of the year.
Dual boot with Windows is coming this year
If you want to use Windows and natively use other launchers available on the market (Epic, GOG or Microsoft’s PC Game Pass), you will unfortunately have to do without SteamOS. The machine does not natively support Dual Boot between the two systems, a functionality still possible for the most DIY enthusiasts (we redirect you to the subreddit r/WindowsOnDeck). However, this could change this year.
Lawrence Yang, currently UX designer for Steam, revealed to IGN media last October that dual boot with Windows was now the team’s priority:
Dual boot support (and general SteamOS installation) is a priority for people working on SteamOS. It also turns out that all of these people working on the operating system worked on the release of the Steam Deck OLED. That said, we plan to make significant progress on these SteamOS updates over the coming year.
Even if we regret that Windows 11 is not (yet) completely comfortable on a portable console, such an update could make it very easy to launch games from competing platforms, just like cloud gaming services, without having to tinker with the system.