Nvidia GeForce Now adds official Steam Deck support

I'm on cloud nine.

Nvidia GeForce Now running on a Steam Deck.

Nvidia GeForce Now finally has Steam Deck support that appears seamlessly in Gaming Mode. It’s much easier to set up than previous methods, but there’s a trick to it that might have you scratching your head otherwise. It is still in beta, after all.

Just like PC Game Pass, Team Green’s cloud gaming service has long been available on Steam Deck through browsers. Relegated to desktop mode, getting it snug as a bug in your gaming library is no small feat. You need to install Edge or Chrome, adjust it to use the gamepad, and then add a shortcut. It’s a faff we could all do without, and Nvidia agrees.

Rather than a truly native app, Nvidia’s solution runs a script that simplifies the process by doing it all for you via Google Chrome. Just follow these instructions, and you’ll be done in less than five minutes:

  1. Head into desktop mode
  2. Click the Steam Deck (BETA) link on the Nvidia download page and confirm you’re using the right device
  3. Open the folder, extract the file, and run the script
  4. Once the terminal is open, bring your keyboard up using Steam + X
  5. Press 1 and then enter

Let it run its course, and it’ll automatically restart, putting you back into gaming mode. Your new shortcut is located in the Non-Steam games section. Fortunately, logging in is a doddle, too, as you don’t need to use the on-screen keyboard. You can input the eight-digit code it gives you and do it through your smartphone or browser.

Once you’re finally in, you’ll notice that it doesn’t quite work because navigation is limited to the touchscreen. Press the Steam button, head into controller settings, and make sure you’re using ‘gamepad with mouse trackpad’ so you can scroll around properly. If you notice lots of sluggishness or menus aren’t appearing as they should, restart your device and try again. My menus wouldn’t appear, and controller settings wouldn’t apply until I gave it a fresh boot.

My first impressions are actually pretty solid. Long-pressing the Steam Deck button brings up the GeForce Now menu to help better scroll through the service, and it looks identical to the desktop version. You’ll need to be careful of certain controller settings for specific games as some are pickier than others. You’ll also need to be mindful of Nvidia GeForce Now’s inactivity timer. If you usually suspend your device mid-playthrough, GeForce now might kick you to save server capacity.

Considering other handhelds like Asus ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and MSI Claw all have their own dedicated GeForce Now downloads, adding Steam Deck into the mix has been a long time coming. Unlike all those, Nvidia had the added issue that Valve’s machine doesn’t run Windows 11. Instead, it must contend with SteamOS, which is a whole different beast that uses the Arch Linux distribution. Since Steam Deck doesn’t even account for 1% of Valve’s user base, it’s easy to see why it’s taken so long. But hey, better late than never.