How to install emulators on Steam Deck

Go back in time with the newest Valve tech

steam deck emulation

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The Valve Steam Deck is the device that gamers have been wanting for many years. It puts the performance of a bulky PC in your hand allowing you to play most, if not all of your favorite titles on the go, something that was pretty much unachievable just a short time ago. Even though this is the case, the Steam Deck isn’t a perfect device and is somewhat locked behind the Linux OS, not allowing you to really customize it to its full potential.

One area that many have been looking to boot up on their Decks is emulators in order to experience some classic titles that would otherwise require some old-school physical hardware to boot up. You install emulators on the Steam Deck in a couple of ways and we’ll be talking you through these below so you can get to retro gaming with zero hiccups.

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How to install emulators on Steam Deck

how to install emulators on steam deck

If you do want to get emulation going on the Steam Deck, it can be an extremely fast process. All you need to do is follow the below steps and you should be up and running in no time. Let’s get into it.


Hold down Steam Deck power button

Locate your Steam Deck’s power button and hold it down until a menu pops up.


Switch to desktop

In this menu, find the Switch to desktop option and select it. This will put your Steam Deck into its desktop mode allowing you more room for customization.


Open Discover

Find the preinstalled Discover app and open it.


Install your preferred emulators

In the Discover app you should be able to see a list of a few different emulator options including Dolphin, Yuzu, bsnes, PCSX2 and DuckStation. Install your chosen emulators with a simple click.

It’s as simple as that, you should now be able to emulate a plethora of retro games with ease. However, if you don’t particularly like this emulator lineup or want a bit more customizability, you can install emulators a different way albeit a more complicated one.

Install emulators on Steam Deck with Windows

As previously stated, while the version of Linux the Steam Deck uses does have some out-of-the-box emulation capabilities, these are unfortunately a little limited. So, if you want more options, your best bet is to install Windows. Then, simply install emulators through the same methods as a desktop Windows PC.