Xbox Game Pass is a hugely popular subscription service that allows anyone with a Microsoft account and a spare $15 each month to access a huge suite of games. What makes Game Pass so compelling for many fans is that they can play dozens of high-quality titles on console, PC, or mobile devices. A recent question that has popped up in regards to this supported device list is whether or not Valve's new portable PC, Steam Deck, will be able to run Game Pass titles. The short answer is yes, but not in the way that players might think. For that, you'll need to access the library of games in Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Microsoft recently announced it has discovered a workaround to get Game Pass running on Steam Deck. However, since the application itself is so intertwined with Windows OS, which is finicky on Steam Deck at the moment, players need to find another way to access their Game Pass titles. Luckily, Microsoft's method does just that by getting Game Pass to run directly from a browser on Steam Deck. This is done through accessing Xbox Cloud Gaming, which is a service offered to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. By using the cloud, players can run their games through a browser, which Xbox Cloud Gaming needs to be able to work, and still have their progress saved. While this method is fairly complicated at the moment, programmers at Microsoft have ensured fans that the process will become simpler over time.
The big advantage of accessing Game Pass titles on Steam Deck is that players don't need to have every game in their Steam Library in order to play them on the handheld device. This also allows players to forego installing a giant operating system, like Windows 10, onto the Steam Deck. Instead, they can simply open a browser, go to the Xbox website, and begin playing from there.
The steps in order to get this working on Steam Deck are laid out below.
How to play Xbox Cloud Gaming on Steam Deck
These steps come directly from Microsoft's programming team on Reddit. When players are done following the steps, they will be using a beta version of the Microsoft Edge browser to access and play Xbox Game Pass titles directly from their Steam Library. Microsoft recommends using an external mouse and keyboard to make this process easier. However, to get external controls working, players will need to purchase a USB-C hub so they can plug both devices directly into it.
- Start up the Steam Deck and go into Desktop Mode by holding down the power button or selecting it from the Steam Deck's power settings menu
- Click the blue shopping bag at the bottom of the screen, which launches the Discover Software Center
- Click on the icon with three lines at the top left of the center and then select Applications > Internet > Web Browsers
- Find the Microsoft Edge Beta box and click the download button on the right-hand side
- After the app is installed, go back to Desktop Mode and click the Applications Launcher icon (the two dots with an arrow)
- Find Microsoft Edge, right-click it, and then press "Add to Steam"
- Go to the "Add a game" window in Steam and select Microsoft Edge
- Go back to the Applications menu and find System > Konsole
- Enter the following command in the Konsole: flatpak --user override --filesystem=/run/udev:ro com.microsoft.Edge
- Launch Steam from Desktop Mode
- Go to your Library and find Microsoft Edge
- Right-click it and then select "Properties"
- Go to "Launch Options" and add this text: --window-size=1024,640 --force-device-scale-factor=1.25 --device-scale-factor=1.25 --kiosk "https://www.xbox.com/play"
- Exit out of "Properties" and right-click Microsoft Edge in Steam again
- Press "Manage," then "Controller Layout," and finally "Browse Configs"
- In this menu, you can change your controls to "Gamepad with Mouse Trackpad" to use external controls in-game
With everything done, players can stay in Desktop Mode or go back to the default Gaming Mode of the Steam Deck. Either way, players can load up their Steam Library, click on the Microsoft Edge application, and launch directly into Xbox Cloud Gaming via the browser.
From here, players can sign into their Microsoft account that's set up with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and access their entire suite of games. It's important to remember that users need to be subscribed to the Ultimate version of Game Pass or else they won't be able to stream games. The normal subscription for $10 a month does not allow access to the cloud for streaming through a browser.
Although, if players don't want to subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, they can run a single game using this method: Fortnite. Microsoft partnered with Epic Games to bring Fortnite to Xbox Cloud Gaming as its first free-to-play title. So even if users aren't subscribed to Game Pass whatsoever, they can still follow the steps above and run Fortnite on their Steam Deck. You can check out our individual guide for running Fortnite on Steam Deck to see more information.