Nvidia and Valve want Team Green’s GeForce Now streaming service to work better on Steam Deck for those who play in the cloud on handheld devices (and yes, there are reasons why you might want to do that – we’ll come back to that).
How Computer player (opens in a new tab) As reported, this comes from Andrew Fear, who is Director of Product Management for GeForce Now at Nvidia, and told our sister site that: “There is no native app on Steam Deck today. Use the Chromium browser to make it work. I’d say both Nvidia and Valve, I think we’re both interested in creating [GeForce Now on Steam Deck] better. But we don’t have any announcements about a native app coming to Steam.”
As Fear notes, if you want to stream games via GeForce Now on Steam Deck right now, you’ll need to do so in the Chromium browser (like Chrome or Edge).
However, as you might guess, running in a browser isn’t the best experience for GeForce Now – it makes some things very clunky, especially in terms of the interface and game controls – and a native app would be a big step up for Steam Deck.
Analysis: Nvidia and Valve, Steam Stream Dream Team?
The problem is that Fear’s statement is very vague. Saying both Nvidia and Valve want GeForce Now to be a better Steam Deck experience, there’s no suggestion as to how that could happen – and furthermore, the explanation that there’s no native app in the works doesn’t seem too positive . It’s just an indication that things will be improved, not anything specific.
While it’s good to see this flagged, there’s really nothing to get excited about yet. Whether or not there will ever be a native Linux app for GeForce Now, well, we’re not sure about that, let’s just say. This is at least a minority gaming platform (1.4% of all gamers on Steam according to Valve’s recent Hardware Survey) and if Steam Deck (which runs Linux, more specifically SteamOS) really isn’t going to be a big thing in the future, for now it’s probably not worth the effort in terms of development time and cost.
Why you might want to stream games via GeForce Now on Steam Deck? Well, for starters, this is one way to save battery, as running GeForce Now in your browser is much less demanding than running some games natively on Steam Deck. Demanding titles can, of course, completely destroy a handheld’s battery, while streaming GeForce Now can provide hours of longevity (reportedly in the order of five hours, from comments we’ve seen).
It also allows you to play some games that are not compatible with Steam Deck and cannot be launched at all. This includes games with anti-cheat features that don’t work well with the Proton compatibility layer that Steam Deck relies on. Moreover, in addition to non-functional titles, there may be other games on the Deck that malfunction or perform suboptimally, and streaming them can also be a much better experience (saving battery).
The trade-off with streaming is that the smoothness of gameplay depends on the speed of your internet connection.