Can There Be a Steam Deck Emulator Soon?

When Nintendo Switch was launched, industry experts considered it as the apex of console gaming. The market reception and sales corroborated with the positive opinions at the time.

Paired with the publisher’s video game titles, Switch took off and exceeded the industry’s expectations.

Four years later, another industry bigwig is looking to put their hands in the handheld console industry. A segment of the gaming industry that Nintendo has ruled for several decades.

Update – Valve recently announced that there won’t be Steam Deck exclusive games.

Valve, famous for Half-Life(3 is confirmed?), and the Steam store has decided to get in the game. The company’s earlier stints into the hardware niche have been underwhelming(read Steam Machine and Controller).

This time around, they have released Steam Deck. The most powerful handheld console yet, sporting an AMD Zen 2 processor coupled with an RDNA GPU.

What Games Can Steam Deck Run?

At the moment of writing this piece, Steam Deck is supporting virtually all the games that the Steam Store has to offer. All credit to the mighty AMND Zen 2 processor that can do all the heavy weight-lifting.

Top it up with an externally connected mouse, controller or even a keyboard for FPS games, and you have yourself a PC.

Is there a Room for Steam Deck Emulators?

Steam Deck currently does not have any console-exclusive videogame titles. All the games on the Steam store are supported, intended for PCs.

Right now, Steam Deck does not warrant an emulator. Given that Valve decides to launch exclusive games for its handheld console in the near future, it can change the equation.

Even when an emulator does arrive, perfecting and polishing it will be a herculean task. We discussed the roadblocks in the past while discussing the possibility of a PS5 emulator.

In a gist, emulating the powerful hardware of Steam Deck will require a computer with formidable specifications. Calling it our lousy day or the general order of things, computers capable of running these extraordinary emulators constitute a tiny segment. 

Can it run other Emulators?

Steam OS on the Deck is based on Arch Linux. And the good news is that a lot of the console emulators have a Linux version.

We are going to save you time and introduce RetroArch. A versatile emulator front-end capable of running several dozen of consoles through emulation cores. It has an Ubuntu version that can be installed using the official instructions

How well the emulators will perform in the uncharted waters remains to be seen. The handheld console hits the market in December, with the option to reserve them right now.

Over to You

Now the ball is in Valve’s court. Integration of third-party apps will be crucial for creating an inviting ecosystem for developers to try their hands.

A direct Steam Deck emulator may not be a possibility right now, but the road doesn’t end for you. You can try emulators for Nintendo, PlayStation, amongst others.