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The best PC games to play on Steam Deck

Dot Esports logo Dot Esports 7/15/2021 Scott Robertson
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Valve is jumping into the handheld pool with a big splash. On July 15, the PC gaming giant announced its Steam Deck handheld platform, a competitor to the Nintendo Switch designed for PC players to be able to play any Steam game on a handheld device.

The Steam Deck advertises the agility to play any game in a Steam user’s library, with a custom APU designed with AMD that should be able to “run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope.” The battery life lasts anywhere from two to eight hours depending on what game you’re playing.

With the ability to play any Steam game, what qualifies as the best game to play on Steam Deck would depend on the player’s preference, right? Yes, but there’s questions about performance regarding heavier games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed to be wary of. Also, multiplayer shooters like CS:GO or Rainbow Six Siege may have face unexpected problems, especially if they’re streamed to the Deck from a PC.

So for this list, we’ve focused on games that wouldn’t take up too much storage or CPU power, and ones that would be better suited for sitting back on a couch, in bed, or even on the toilet.

Fall Guys

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The colorful and chaotic party platformer Fall Guys seems tailor-made for play on a handheld mobile console. That’s a big reason why its eventual Nintendo Switch release is so anticipated, although that original date has been moved back. But with the Switch release date and mobile phone release date for Fall Guys up in the air, the Steam Deck has a chance to capitalize on the potentially massive Fall Guys mobile market.

Given the duration of a Fall Guys match and how easy and quick it is to queue into another one, it’s perfect for the couch potato PC gamer that wants to spend 10 minutes or two to three hours on it. And since the Steam Deck is an actual PC, with the option to install third-party software, players will ideally be able to play games like Fall Guys on it while connected to a Discord call through the Deck.

Genshin Impact

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Another colorful, addicting game with the ability to pick up and leave off as you see fit and currently lacking a port on the competing Nintendo Switch, Genshin Impact could be a tremendously popular game played on the Steam Deck. It’s version on iPhone and Android devices is evidence that it runs well on smaller devices, and the PC version shows how gorgeous the game has the potential to be. Naturally, playing it on Steam Deck could be the best of both worlds.

An anime-inspired take on the Breath of the Wild-style adventure genre, Genshin Impact is one of the most popular, and lucrative games out there. Genshin Impact has shown incredible growth since its release, with no signs of slowing down, and could be the game for Steam Deck that Breath of the Wild was for the Nintendo Switch.

Among Us

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The wildly popular multiplayer game of teamwork and betrayal would be a great option for Steam Deck players. Players would get to use the controller control scheme that works really well with the game, and like with Fall Guys, could use the Deck’s on-board microphone and ability to install Discord to form a fun party of friends that will turn on each other within just a single round.

While Among Us isn’t as massively popular as it was earlier in the year, the small development team at Innersloth is dedicated to adding more and more content over-time, including maps, tasks, and cosmetics. Perhaps Among Us is due for yet another resurgence in December when the Steam Deck ships.

To be honest, there’s so much potential to the Switch Deck, that limiting the list to just three titles seems wrong. Even some of the bigger games appear to run really well in the first sets of testing on developmental Decks, including Jedi Fallen Order and Death Stranding. And with different storage sizes and the ability to add more storage via a microSD slot, perhaps the concerns about games that are too big or too taxing on the CPU won’t even surface.

Sure, you’re probably not going to be able to play Cyberpunk 2077 on ultra high settings really smoothly, but this new device from Valve and Steam still has the PC gaming world excited for good reason. Queues to reserve the Steam Deck for U.S., U.K., or other European customers open on July 16.

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