Microsoft brings Xbox Cloud Gaming to the Steam Deck, with a twist
Valve finally started shipping its Steam Deck handheld game console in February, which is essentially a Linux-powered gaming PC in the form factor of a Nintendo Switch. It already works with many Linux and Windows games out of the box, and Microsoft is supporting it across most Xbox Game Studios games that are available through Steam — the ones that don’t have a competitive multi-player component, anyway. Now the company is working to support Xbox Cloud Gaming on the Steam Deck, though it currently involves installing the entire Microsoft Edge web browser.
Microsoft has published a support article and Reddit post explaining how to play cloud Xbox games (with a valid Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription) on the Steam Deck. The process mainly involves installing the Linux version of the Microsoft Edge browser in the desktop Linux environment, then adding a shortcut to Edge in the Steam interface. Microsoft even made some artwork you can add to the shortcut to make it fit in better with your Steam games. All the information is available in both the source links below.
— Catherine Gluckstein (@CJGluckstein) March 18, 2022
Installing Edge outside of Steam and creating your own shortcut is a fair bit of work, but perhaps in the future, Microsoft could publish Edge to Steam for easy installation on the Steam Deck. Xbox Cloud Gaming also works well on Windows 10 installed on the Steam Deck, using the system drivers Valve recently published.
Microsoft has been rapidly building up Xbox Cloud Gaming on other platforms. The feature arrived on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles back in November, giving players the ability to quickly try out Xbox games without downloading them on the console itself. There are also a few Xbox games only available on Cloud Gaming or the newer Xbox Series X/S, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator.