Starfield, Bethesda's highly anticipated space exploration role-playing game, has finally arrived, and many gamers are eager to embark on its expansive and immersive journey. While the game is primarily designed for PC platforms, the question arises: Can you play Starfield on Steam Deck, Valve's portable gaming PC?
Steam Deck Compatibility
Starfield is currently rated as "Playable" on Steam Deck, which means it can run on the device but may require adjustments to achieve optimal performance. This classification is based on Valve's compatibility testing and user feedback.
Playing Starfield on Steam Deck is a mixed bag. While the game is technically playable, it may not deliver the smooth and consistent experience you'd expect from a traditional PC setup. Frame rates can fluctuate depending on the graphical settings and the intensity of the in-game scenes.
Optimising Starfield for Steam Deck
To improve the gaming experience on Steam Deck, consider the following tips:
Lower Graphical Settings: Adjust the game's graphical settings to lower levels to reduce the strain on the hardware and improve frame rates.
Enable FSR: FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is an upscaling technology that can boost performance without significantly sacrificing image quality. Enable FSR in the game's settings.
Use Proton Experimental: Proton Experimental is a compatibility tool that can enhance the performance of some games on Steam Deck. Try using Proton Experimental to launch Starfield.
Limit Frame Rate: Capping the frame rate can help stabilise performance and reduce stuttering. You can set a frame rate limit in the game's settings or through Steam Deck's system settings.
Enable Half-Rate Shading: Half-Rate Shading (HFR) renders the game at half the native resolution and then upscales it using FSR. This can significantly improve performance but may result in a slightly softer image.
Battery Life Considerations
Playing demanding games like Starfield on Steam Deck can take a toll on battery life. Depending on the graphical settings and usage patterns, expect a few hours of gameplay on a single charge.
While Starfield is technically playable on Steam Deck, the overall experience may not be as smooth and polished as on a traditional PC setup. You may encounter frame rate drops, graphical compromises, and reduced battery life.
If you prioritise performance and visual fidelity, playing Starfield on a dedicated gaming PC is recommended—however, value portability and the convenience of handheld gaming. Starfield can still provide an enjoyable experience on Steam Deck, especially if you're willing to adjust settings and manage expectations.