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Can you play Minecraft on the Steam Deck? It can be done!

Last Updated on December 5, 2023
Can you play Minecraft on the Steam Deck? It can be done! Image shows the Steam Deck with the Minecraft cover art on its screen, on a dark green background.
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The sandbox game Minecraft is not only a household name, it’s a cross-platform sensation that’s one of the most popular games of all time – but can you play Minecraft from the Steam Deck? Valve’s portable gaming PC offers access to a wealth of titles through your Steam Library, but a mixture of new updates and nostalgia continually draws players back to Minecraft every once in a while. No doubt, part of this appeal is the notion of taking Minecraft with you on the go. Is it possible?

At first glance, playing Minecraft on the Steam Deck might not seem possible, as we have yet another case of Linux compatibility getting in the way. However, fear not as there are of course still ways to get the game up and running from your handheld smoothly. In this article, we’ll explore these possibilities as well as some of the questions you may have on how to play Minecraft on the Steam Deck.

Can I play Minecraft on the Steam Deck?

In short, yes, the Steam Deck can play Minecraft, but not straight out of the box. As is the case with other popular games not compatible with Linux such as Fortnite and Roblox, you need to spend a few extra minutes downloading a third-party launcher that should get Minecraft Java edition running in no time. So, while Minecraft isn’t natively available through Steam, the dedication of gamers means that it can be installed in a few simple steps. Of course, you’ll still require a digital license to play Minecraft, as the launcher used here obviously requires you to own a legal copy of the game. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Download Prism Launcher to your Steam Deck. To get started, put your Steam Deck into Desktop Mode, and head into the Discover Store (it has a shopping bag icon). Search for ‘Prism Launcher’, and press download.
  2. Set up Prism Launcher. Once it’s downloaded, open up the Prism Launcher app, and it will ask you to log in to your Minecraft account. From here, there are a few extra steps. Click on Accounts in the top right corner, and select Manage Accounts. Next, click Add Microsoft, and follow the further instructions.
  3. Link your Microsoft account. The next element of this process will take you from Prism Launcher to the Microsoft website. Here, you’ll need to type in the code provided to you by Prism Launcher in order to link your Microsoft account to the app.
  4. Adding a Minecraft Instance. Instances are the different versions of Minecraft available for you to download. When you’re back in Prism Launcher, find the Add Instance button that’s located on the top left. From here, you should be able to select the version of Minecraft you want to download, and the process should get going!
  5. Add Prism Launcher as a Non-Steam game.

Can I play Minecraft with friends on the Steam Deck?

Yes, you can play Minecraft with friends on the Steam Deck. Minecraft supports both LAN and online multiplayer, so you can connect with your friends and enjoy the game together, exploring the Nether or heading into battle with Zombies.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

Tips for a smooth gaming experience

To enhance your gaming experience and ensure optimal performance while playing Minecraft on the Steam Deck, consider the following tips:

Adjust graphics settings: Depending on the capabilities of your Steam Deck, you may need to adjust the graphics settings in Minecraft to optimize performance. Lowering the graphics settings can significantly improve FPS (frames per second) and overall gameplay smoothness.

Keep your Steam Deck updated: It’s essential to regularly update your Steam Deck with the latest firmware updates provided by Valve. These updates often include performance optimizations and bug fixes that can enhance your gaming experience.

Can Minecraft Be Installed on Steam Deck via Windows?

While playing Minecraft on the Steam Deck through Linux is naturally the recommended method, it’s also possible to install Minecraft via Windows. This would require you to go through the lengthy but possible process of installing a Windows OS onto your Steam Deck. However, this approach comes with some limitations. Valve has not yet developed sound drivers for Windows on the Steam Deck, which means that if you install Windows on your device, the speakers may not work properly. It’s important to consider these limitations before deciding to install Minecraft through Windows, as compatibility issues already puts this process on the rocks.

Final thoughts

While Minecraft is yet another game not available natively on the Steam platform, you can still play the game on the Steam Deck by following the steps briefly outlined in this article. By installing Prism Launcher, linking your Microsoft account, and optimizing your gaming settings, you can enjoy the sandbox experience of Minecraft wherever you go.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.