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How to play games on the Steam Deck

So you’ve got a brand new Steam Deck and are looking to install some games from your favorite storefront: Surely that’s impossible, right? Wrong. Here’s how you can get your library running on the Deck.

Step 1: Get the itch desktop client installed. 

This first step is pretty easy, to get the itch desktop client installed all you have to do is boot into desktop mode (Steam button -> power settings -> switch to desktop) and navigate to and download the client. There are steps outlined on the page specifically for installing to Linux, but it’s as easy as running the installer. Once that’s sorted you can log into the itch client as you would anywhere else and access your games from the Library title.

Step 2: Adding your games to Steam.

Once you’ve downloaded your games from your library to your Steam Deck it’s time to add them to Steam so you can access them from the main Steam Deck menu. First, you need to open up Steam and click the “add a non-Steam game” from the “add a game” menu in the bottom left.

Your game will probably not show up on the default list, so click on the Browse button. From here you’ll have to navigate to wherever you’ve installed your games. By default this is /home/deck/.config/itch/apps. Now, this is where things are going to vary by game. If you’ve installed an .exe you’ll need to click Open to add that to your Add a Non-Steam Game list. If you’ve downloaded a native Linux build you’ll need to open the file marked File. This will look something like Celeste.bin.x86_64.

Please note that if you can’t find your games you may need to switch from File Type: Desktop to All Files. Once you click open click “Add Selected Programs” and the games should show up in Steam.

Step 3: Play your games!

Now you can switch back to the main Steam Deck UI and access your games! At first they’ll be buried under Steam->Library-> Non-Steam but once you’ve run them once they’ll show up like any other on the Deck’s home screen. 

To be clear: The degree to which a game performs is going to be mixed, but during my testing most games work well thanks to native Linux support and the Proton compatibility layer. There have been a few exceptions but that’s the nature of the Deck. 

What have you been playing on your Deck? Sound off in the comments below!

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How would you configure controller bindings for an game. Like let’s say I’m playing a Rpgmaker title, how would I configure it so that the keyboard bindings could be replaced with the steam deck hardware for easy gameplay. 


You can rebind inputs on a per-game basis through the steamdeck's gaming UI. Hit the controller icon on a game's page.

thank you! 

Would it be possible to add an option to the itch desktop app to do this automatically? Navigating Desktop-Steam’s file chooser on the Steam Deck is quite a hassle in particular, so even if it was available only on that system, it would help a lot. If you could somehow also automatically configure the library image, that would be incredible.

The itch app itself unfortunately doesn’t work in gaming mode. It would be neat if that was available too, especially if it could then add the games to Steam without going through desktop mode. (Using the same executable detection that starting one normally uses, that is, since not everything has the .itch.toml.)

It mostly works great otherwise, with some mild drawbacks with games not supporting 16:10 or the native resolution directly (which causes borders or rarely some blurriness). Controls (in gaming mode) are less of an issue, usually at least one of the presets already covers them fully.

Oh right, one minor addition: The Steam Deck seems to be quite good at running Windows games, but the itch app seems to often not offer that option for installation there. It’d be cool if you could allow that if you detect Proton or such.

It's a bit of a hassle, but you can download the windows installers manually.

Does this only work for Linux games? Or will this work for Windows games as well?

When I try to play CrossCode on SteamDeck it doesn't recognize the controller and if I click anywhere with a mouse the game crashes :,(


I've played mostly visual novels and demos from itch on my steam deck. Been great for whittling down my bundle to play list.