It’s About Time Steam Deck Gets Native Game Pass Support

A cloud Game Pass is not Game Pass.

Story Highlights

  • Steam Deck’s popularity is through the roof, and it’s time the device gets a proper Game Pass.
  • Unlike other handheld PCs, Steam Deck only has a Cloud-streaming variant of it.
  • Steam and Game Pass can co-exist as both platforms are thriving on PCs. 

Video gaming has become a lot more accessible and comfortable than it was back when I was a kid. Gaming consoles and devices existed, but they were as rare as they came and cost a fortune, which I didn’t have. Thus, I had to rely on arcades to enjoy a few rounds with my friends. And even when I got my console, let’s just say getting every game at full price was not possible.

Thus, I remember my earlier gaming years as looking for my favorite titles at discount rates, and trust me those are some of my most cherished memories. It’s a throwback to the simpler, worry-free times. However, since I lived through that age, I can say for sure just how much easier it has become for gamers now.

With portable powerhouses like Steam Deck to enjoy games at your convenience, and subscription services like Game Pass to access a ton of new games Day-One with a single price, things have become a lot more convenient and affordable now.

YouTube video

Steam Deck’s Game Pass Is A Shell Of Its True Self

First, let’s discuss the Xbox subscription service. PlayStation indeed has a better lineup than Xbox, but when it comes to the two subscription services, I’ll always give Game Pass the edge, simply because of its Day-One releases. You can enjoy every major release the day it’s out; that’s a plus point that’s pretty hard to beat. Back when PS Plus raised its prices, I was more than convinced to side with Game Pass.

What’s even more impressive is that, unlike PS Plus, Game Pass is also available on PC, alongside its Day-One merit. For example, I think you know just how much of a JRPG-rich year 2024 is shaping up to be. Among them, Persona 3 Reload was a major player, and PC Game Pass users got it immediately on release. That’s nothing if not superb.

Game Pass features an interesting lineup with many Day-One releases
Game Pass features an interesting lineup with many Day-One releases

Next up, we have Valve’s magnificent gaming device, the Steam Deck. A completely portable PC in the design of a game console; it was hard to believe for me initially. However, Steam Deck genuinely surprised me, and I’m sure many others, as the ultimate handheld gaming device, which it still is if you consider just how affordable it is

A better comparison for the Steam Deck
byu/Khalmoon ingaming

So, how does it all connect? You have a highly affordable gaming device on one side and a highly affordable subscription service on the other. What if we were to combine these two? Don’t you think Steam Deck makes a perfect Game Pass device? I certainly think that’s the case.

Before I say anything else, you might be wondering, Steam Deck does have a Game Pass, the Cloud variant. To answer this, the Cloud streaming Game Pass can’t even hold a candle to the real deal. It streams games instead of playing them natively, which even a phone can do. Steam Deck is more than capable of running all these Game Pass titles natively.

Steam Deck has a Game Pass, but unfortunately, it's Cloud-only
Steam Deck has a Game Pass, but unfortunately, it’s Cloud-only

Other Portable PCs Have It, Steam Deck Should Too

Steam Deck was a revolutionary device for modern gamers, and as such, it led to an influx of handheld gaming PCs looking to provide the same or better experience. With them becoming more popular and comfortable, I believe we’re not far from a Portable console boom

Steam Deck had no competitor on launch other than the Switch, but now the market is filled with handheld PCs, many even stronger than the Deck. However, as I mentioned earlier, nothing can beat Steam Deck in affordability and software performance so far, and it needs to take that advantage further.

Almost every other portable PC can run Game Pass natively, making it an ideal choice for relaxing gaming sessions. However, Stem Deck is still stuck with the “Cloud streaming” version of the service, which is honestly a waste, considering how much good it can do with proper native support.

Since we’re in a very competitive era, people will always opt for something that gives them what they want the most. Steam Deck provided comfortable gaming at the best price, and it still does, but now Game Pass has become an integral part of PC gaming. Just take a look at how much it has grown recently. Steam Deck needs to incorporate it into its arsenal now.

Steam And Game Pass Can Co-Exist

If it is so beneficial for the device, why hasn’t Steam Deck got the feature so far? I believe it’s majorly because Steam and the Microsoft Store are rival services on PC. Since Steam Deck is a Valve device, giving way to a rival service on it can result in the lowering of Steam itself in popularity on the device.

However, I don’t think that should be a cause of concern, especially for Steam. The platform has been in existence for a long time now, and over the years has created an image nothing else can surpass. And besides, both of these services already exist on Windows simultaneously, has Steam fallen in rank?

Steam is still growing – 2021 stats:
byu/DeGreZet inSteam

I’ve previously mentioned just how much Game Pass has grown in recent years, specifically on PC. However, let me ask you this. Has this growth resulted in Steam losing any popularity? On the contrary, Steam’s value in the eyes of its consumers has only continued to grow. Even if a good game releases Day-One on Game Pass, it still sells exponentially well on Steam. Game Pass merely serves as a trial run.

Microsoft And Valve Need To Implement Steam Deck Game Pass

With all this, I can say with confidence that bringing a native Game Pass to the Steam Deck will become a beneficial move for both parties involved. Steam Deck’s usage and consumer numbers are much higher now than on its release, and having Game Pass on such a device will help boost its player base even more.

Game Pass and Steam Deck can make a killer combo
Game Pass and Steam Deck can make a killer combo

Similarly, with Game Pass, Steam Deck can become the ultimate gaming device for comfortable and leisurely play. As such, it’ll enhance the Deck’s renown among gamers of all ages. With this step, both parties can complement each other and contribute to mutual growth.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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