Thanks to Valve's efficient production process, those who previously reserved a place in line for the Steam Deck are finally receiving their order emails, letting them purchase the portable PC console.
The Steam Deck is intended to allow players to take their Steam library with them, acting as a portable PC. While it has mixed reviews, with many noting the console's poor battery life, overall it's become a coveted console among PC gamers.
Xbox's Game Pass has an entire library of games for PC gamers to pick up and play for a monthly fee, oftentimes offering some games to players as soon as they launch. But while the Steam Deck has successfully run demanding games, like Elden Ring, can you play Game Pass games on it?
Running Game Pass games on your Steam Deck is a bit complicated, but possible.
At this time, there is no application that can be directly downloaded that will allow you to access your Game Pass library from your PC — but since the Steam Deck is quite literally a portable PC, there are workarounds you can use if you have certain games you're particularly intent on playing with it.
To start, you'll first want to connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to your Steam Deck. This just makes the process easier.
From there, you'll want to put the console into desktop mode, which can be done by pushing the Steam button, scrolling down to "Power," and then selecting "Switch to desktop."
You'll then want to download Microsoft Edge (beta) from the Discover Software Center (the blue shopping bag in the taskbar). You can find this under "Applications," then "Internet," then "Web Browsers."
Once it's downloaded, right-click on Microsoft Edge (beta) and then select "Add to Steam."
This should bring up the "Add a Game" window, where you'll scroll down to select "Microsoft Edge (beta)" and continue to add it.
Once you've done that, pull back up the Applications menu and select "System," then "Konsole." Here, you'll want to set the override to "flatpak --user override --filesystem=/run/udev:ro com.microsoft.Edge".
You'll then want to open Steam and right-click on Microsoft Edge (beta) in your Library. Click "Properties" and change its name to "Xbox Cloud Gaming."
Click "Launch Options" and then change it to: --window-size=1024,640 --force-device-scale-factor=1.25 --device-scale-factor=1.25 --kiosk "https://www.xbox.com/play".
Once this is done, you should be able to return to the Gaming Mode and begin playing!
If all of this is too confusing, or for some reason the "Add a Game" window doesn't appear for you (something I personally had an issue with), you can also play in desktop mode through the browser — just make sure you have a controller connected. While there are touch controls available, they're pretty clunky on the Steam Deck, and most of these games would be better played with a controller.
Will Xbox Game Pass come to the Steam Deck?
At this time, it's currently unclear if Microsoft will create an application that can be run directly in Steam to better streamline this process for players. The company has yet to make an official announcement about such a move, though the Steam Deck did make adjustments to its software in late March 2022 to support Game Pass.
Though it's a bit difficult to get set up, once you've followed all of the above steps, you should be able to stream Game Pass games on your Steam Deck.