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Can you play Starfield on the Steam Deck?

You'll probably be better off sticking to Deck-optimized games like Blasphemous or Disco Elysium.
By
17 hours ago
FTL in Starfield
Bethesda

Valve’s Steam Deck has been something of a surprise hit, opening up demand for handheld PC gaming. But what are its prospects for running Starfield, one of the most graphically intense games released in recent months?

QUICK ANSWER

Starfield runs on a Steam Deck, but not well, since the Deck falls below the game's minimum requirements. Optimizations like AMD's FSR 2.0 upscaling may help, and you may be able to side-step requirements entirely if you can load Xbox Cloud Gaming.


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Is Starfield on the Steam Deck?

Ship combat in Starfield
Bethesda

Starfield is available on Steam. Currently, though, it’s listed as “Unsupported” for the Steam Deck, and there’s no news on it being fully optimized, which would be signaled by it having Verified compatibility. A game can still run on the Deck without being Verified, but may potentially have control issues or sub-par performance.

Can the Steam Deck run Starfield?

Baldurs gate 3 steam deck featured
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

It does run, but not especially well. The Deck’s AMD-based system-on-chip is powerful for a handheld, but falls below Starfield’s minimum PC requirements. Graphically, for instance, the game requires at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, but the Deck’s GPU is equivalent to a GTX 1050.

A few things offer hope. Starfield does for instance support AMD’s FSR 2.0 upscaling technology, which lowers practical requirements. The Deck also runs games in 1280×800 resolution, which is less than the 1080p, 1440p, or 4K a desktop PC usually demands.

Some people have had success using mods, achieving framerates up to 60fps in less detailed environments. Not everyone is that tech-savvy, however, and even if you are, you’re going to be sacrificing graphics detail.

If you can load a cloud streaming service such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, that might be a workaround, but that can be cumbersome to do on a Steam Deck, and not worth the effort if you don’t have a high-bandwidth internet connection with minimal lag. Xbox streaming isn’t even available without an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.


FAQs

No. It’s intended to be a solo role-playing experience, much like Mass Effect or Bethesda’s own The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

Since Bethesda is owned by Microsoft, the game is only available on Windows PCs, the Xbox Series X and S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming.

On Xbox, yes, since Bethesda wants to maintain both a consistent framerate and high detail. PCs are allowed to exceed 30fps, since of course they might have CPUs or GPUs more powerful than the Xbox Series X.

Over 1,000, spread across 100 star systems. Only some of these have been touched by human designers, however — the rest are procedurally generated, much like the planets in No Man’s Sky.