The Steam Deck is an impressive piece of hardware that runs Windows games via some clever software magic. But sometimes even a Steam-Verified game might not run as well as you expect on the Deck. If you want direct access to user-reports of how specific games run (whether they’re officially Verified or not), then ProtonDB, a crowdsourced repository of gamer reviews of Steam Deck and Linux games, just got even easier to use with dedicated tabs to sort reviews based on PC or Steam Deck.
While the Steam Deck supports over 8,000 games, it’s not always clear just how well a game will run. Valve endeavored to make the process simple by labeling a game as Verified (it should run flawlessly), Playable (the game will technically run but might not be an ideal portable experience), or Unsupported (either doesn’t run at all or requires significant tweaking to maybe get it to work). You can usually be sure that a green checkmark and a “Verified” status on a game’s store page means that you’ll be able to play the game, but as we’ve seen recently, popular games like Remnant 2 are calling into question how trustworthy that “Verified” status really is.
On August 15, ProtonDB announced that users could now use the site to filter user reports of game performance by platform, with a choice of PC, Steam Deck, or both.
By simply typing a game title into the site’s search bar, you’ll be taken to a list of reviews with clearly identifiable “All,” “PC,” and “Steam Deck” tabs to sort them. These are submitted by users, so they can range in detail. But as you can see with a game like Cyberpunk 2077, which is Verified on Steam, users regularly share their anecdotal experiences with the game, as well as recommended settings, with an indication of how many hours that reviewer has spent on that particular title.
Since ProtonDB pulls information from SteamDB, you are limited to games that are on Steam’s store (which would exclude titles like Diablo IV which is only available via Battle.net on PC), but it’s a great way to get a temperature check on how a game is running on the handheld.
As sources like Digital Foundry recently reported, there has been an influx of concern over just how trustworthy the Verified badge on a Steam store listing is, as some games bear the badge, but not the quality of performance that badge promises.
Remnant 2 is the latest offender, which according to Digital Foundry, requires “a big resolution cutback and still [suffers] from substandard performance.” As stated in its video analyzing Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and Remnant 2, there’s some concern over whether or not modern titles making use of advanced graphical rendering techniques are starting to outpace the Steam Deck’s hardware.
A quick glance of Remnant 2’s reports on ProtonDB indicates (though the reviews for this particular title are limited in number right now) that some users have found ways to get functional performance on Deck, but ultimately it’s not a great experience.
Steam Deck games need to hit that sweet spot between playing nicely with the Deck’s software magic and its specific hardware. Resources like ProtonDB, however, are a great way to get a sense of how a particular game fairs for real users.