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Can you play Baldur's Gate 3 on the Steam Deck?

It works, but you'll need to do some tweaking.
By

Published onAugust 10, 2023

Baldurs gate 3 steam deck featured
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Baldur’s Gate 3 took the world by storm when it finally hit full release, peaking at more than 800,000 concurrent players on Steam. The game is almost universally loved by critics and gamers alike, but not everyone wants to sit at their computer for hundreds of hours to complete the story. That’s where handhelds like the Steam Deck come in.

So can you play Baldur’s Gate 3 on the Steam Deck? Here’s what you need to know.

QUICK ANSWER

Baldur's Gate 3 is Steam Deck verified and fully playable, but in-game performance is somewhat limited. Until FSR2 support is added, framerates are limited to 30-40 fps with optimal settings and the battery will drain in 90 minutes or less.

Can you play Baldur’s Gate 3 on the Steam Deck?

Baldurs gate 3 steam deck on table
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Baldur’s Gate 3 was plagued with crashes and poor performance on the Steam Deck at launch, but as of writing it is now fully Steam Deck Verified. The crashes have been fixed, and instances of the game requiring a virtual keyboard for text input have been changed to work with controller inputs.

However, just because the game works doesn’t mean it works well. Default settings will see the game chug along with framerates in the teens. Even with optimal settings, you should still expect an average of around 30fps. It will drain your battery quickly as well, typically in around 90 minutes or less.

Baldur's Gate 3 is in a much better spot now than it was at launch, and things will only get better with FSR2 support.

Another issue is the sheer size of the game files. The full install takes about 120GB of space, which is already more than the internal storage of the cheapest Steam Deck. Even with the more expensive Steam Decks with 256GB or 512GB, you’ll still probably want to install Baldur’s Gate 3 on a microSD card.

One way to get around this is to play the game on a cloud gaming service like GeForce Now. GeForce Now isn’t officially supported on the Steam Deck, but you can still access it by installing Chrome and jumping through a few hoops to enable controller support in Chrome. Here’s a quick guide on how to do that.

GeForce Now isn’t cheap, but it will allow you to play Baldur’s Gate 3 on max settings on your Steam Deck at the maximum supported 60fps. It will also allow you to run the Deck at much lower power, extending battery life significantly beyond what’s possible while playing the game locally.

Another option is to wait until FSR 2 support is added to Baldur’s Gate 3 later in 2023. This should improve performance considerably, but we’ll have to do more testing once it’s ready.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Steam Deck optimal settings

Steam Deck buttons
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The default settings for Baldur’s Gate 3 are a bit too much for the Steam Deck, so there are a few tweaks we recommend. Here are the optimal settings for Baldur’s Gate 3 on the Steam Deck:

  • Resolution: 1280×800
  • Model quality: Low
  • Texture quality: Medium
  • Texture filtering: Trilinear
  • Shadow quality: Low
  • Fog quality: Low
  • AMD FSR 1.0: Ultra Quality
  • Other graphics settings: Ultra equivalent

These settings will give you around 30-40fps, depending on the area of the game you’re in. If you’re experiencing frequent framerate drops or stuttering in busy areas like the titular Baldur’s Gate, try turning Dynamic crowds off and dropping FSR to Balanced.

Other FAQs

With optimal settings, the Steam Deck lasts from 75-90 minutes while playing Baldur’s Gate 3.

With optimal settings, Baldur’s Gate 3 gets about 30-40fps on the Steam Deck, dropping lower in high-traffic areas like the city.

Baldur’s Gate 3 takes about 120GB of storage.