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Can you play the Steam Deck offline? In short, yes.

Here's how to make the most of your Steam Deck even when you're disconnected
Last Updated on December 7, 2023
Can you play the Steam Deck offline? In short, yes. Image shows the text "Can you play the Steam Deck offline? In short, yes." beneath the Steam Deck, on a light blue background.
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Part of the appeal of Valve’s portable PC is that you can take your gaming with you on the go, but can you play the Steam Deck offline? As with any handheld, playing in different areas of your house or out and about means that you can’t always have a stable internet connection when accessing your gaming library. Therefore, before investing in a Steam Deck, it’s good to know about the console’s offline capabilities. Will you be able to jump into your favorite titles even when not connected to Wi-Fi?

In this article, we will explore the offline capabilities of the Steam Deck console, and give you a quick guide on playing games offline on this exciting new device.

Can you play the Steam Deck offline?

In short, you can of course play the Steam Deck offline. However, you can’t always just disconnect and play a game offline straight after download: similar to playing games offline on Steam you often have to prepare the games for offline mode first. Additionally, some features such as multiplayer and cloud saves may not be available without an internet connection. So, it’s always a good idea to check the requirements of specific games or apps to make sure they can be played offline.

The Steam Deck, similar to a PC, requires an internet connection for tasks such as downloading games and playing online multiplayer games. However, once a game is installed on the device and you’ve played it for a few minutes, it should be possible to play it while offline, unless the game specifically requires an internet connection. This feature makes the Steam Deck a versatile gaming device that can be enjoyed in various settings, even without a stable internet connection.

Playing games offline on the Steam Deck

To play games offline on the Steam Deck, there are a few steps you need to follow. We’ll walk you through the process to ensure that you can enjoy your favorite games without any interruptions, even when you’re away from an internet connection.

Ensure games are updated: While connected to the internet, open all the games you want to play on the Steam Deck when you no longer have a connection. This ensures that any updates, patches, or additional software downloads are applied to the games and they’re able to be played smoothly.

Play games online: Spend 5-10 minutes playing the games while connected to the internet. This step is particularly important for certain games like Red Dead Redemption 2, as the offline mode may not work until the game has been opened and played for a short period of time. It’s also worth noting that some games (like Monster Hunter Rise) require you to be online on the first launch after each update too

Enable offline mode: Once you have played the games online and ensured they are up to date, quit the games and navigate to the settings menu on the Steam Deck. Under the internet settings, you will find an option to enable offline mode. Enable this mode to allow for offline gameplay.

Enjoy your games: With offline mode enabled, your games should now be playable even without an internet connection. Launch the games from your library and immerse yourself in the gaming experience, no matter where you are.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

A few things to note

When playing your Steam Deck and Steam games from offline mode, there are a couple of other things to take note off. Firstly, offline playtime is not tracked by Steam, so the amount of hours you’ve spent playing unfortunately aren’t recorded during offline sessions. Secondly, some games won’t unlock achievements when offline, so it’s worth going back online every so often to sync up.

Wrapping up

So, there you have it – like any handheld console, you can play the Steam Deck offline, but occasionally there will be limitations to multiplayer games and games that haven’t been updated. It’s important to note that while the majority of games will work in offline mode on the Steam Deck, there may be some exceptions. Certain games, like DiRT Rally 2.0, may override the offline mode and require an internet connection to function properly. So, it’s recommended to test your favorite games in offline mode before embarking on a trip or journey with limited internet connectivity.

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.

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