Xbox Cloud Gaming support could be another big win for the Steam Deck
Valve’s upcoming handheld is all about versatility, meaning it’ll be compatible with a range of external hardware and software. That includes VR headsets like the Oculus Quest, non-Steam marketplaces like the Epic Games Store and even completely different operating systems like Windows 11.
Now, we’re hearing that the Steam Deck will also work with Microsoft’s cloud streaming service, Xbox Cloud Gaming, suggesting owners will be able to play supported Xbox titles on their Valve-branded handheld.
The news comes after Xbox Boss Phil Spencer tweeted his admiration for the Steam Deck following a prolonged hands-on period with the new console. “I can say it’s a really nice device,” he said, “Games with me on the go, screen size, controls all great […] xCloud works well.”
Was @valvesoftware this week talking w/ Scott, Erik, Gabe about Steam Deck. After having mine most of the week I can say it’s a really nice device. Games with me on the go, screen size, controls all great. Playing Halo and Age feels good, xCloud works well. Congrats SD team. pic.twitter.com/q4hWBvkk85August 13, 2021
Though not clarifying to what extent Xbox Cloud Gaming will work with the Steam Deck, Spencer did say in the tweet that “playing Halo and Age feels good [on the console],” which we presume to be in reference to specific Halo and Age of Empire titles.
There is, of course, still the question of just how well the Steam Deck will perform when running AAA titles. Compatibility with these graphics-hungry games is all well and good, but if they don’t play well, Valve’s console won’t be the game-changer the company clearly hopes it will be.
Thankfully, its developers are optimistic. In a recent interview with GamesRadar, Valve designer Scott Dalton said: “We only within the last six months passed over a threshold where we felt like we could actually deliver AAA current titles at good frame rates. All the things you would want out of playing your library.”
We know that Valve is targeting a minimum benchmark of 30fps for any games played on the Steam Deck, so the “good frame rate” Dalton is alluding to here may indeed be in reference to the same figure – which should provide competent performance for high-spec titles, even if 60fps has become the threshold to aim for on non-portable consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
That being said, neither Spencer nor Xbox itself has yet confirmed whether Xbox Cloud Gaming will run through a browser or native app on the Steam Deck, which could dramatically impact the quality of the experience for the player should the former turn out to be the reality.
Still, Spencer’s clarification that the service will at least be made available on the device in some capacity is a welcome one, and we can’t wait to put it to the test when it launches in December.