Baldur’s Gate 3’s Steam Deck Verified status is upsetting Xbox players

Noelle Corbett
A white dragonborn Dark Urge in Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 being Steam Deck Verified days after launch is angering Xbox players, as Larian Studios still has not committed to a Series X|S port.

Massive D&D-based RPG Baldur’s Gate 3 is taking the PC gaming world by storm, but not everyone is able to get in on the fun yet. Though the game is coming to PlayStation 5 on September 6, 2023, Xbox Series X|S players will have to wait much longer – if they get it at all.

While Larian has said Baldur’s Gate 3 is not a PS5 console exclusive and an Xbox port is in the works with a potential 2024 release, it has yet to officially reveal its plans after running into development issues on Microsoft’s console, more specifically the Xbox Series S.

However, the news that Baldur’s Gate 3 is now Steam Deck Verified is frustrating Xbox gamers who want to know how a handheld can handle a game that their current-gen console supposedly cannot.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is being held back by the Xbox Series S’ limitations

While Steam Deck users are understandably delighted by Baldur’s Gate 3 running smoothly on Valve’s hardware, Xbox gamers responded to Larian’s announcement with disappointment and, in some cases, anger.

According to Larian, the issues mainly stem from trying to get Baldur’s Gate 3’s split-screen co-op working on the Xbox Series S.

The system isn’t as powerful as its counterpart, but Microsoft requires feature parity for all games releasing on its hardware, meaning developers can’t make technically demanding elements Series X exclusive.

In fairness to both Larian and Microsoft, the very feature that seems to be keeping Baldur’s Gate 3 off the Xbox Series X|S is also a problem for Steam Deck. The developers have disabled split-screen co-op on the handheld, and while gamers have found a workaround, it does seem to negatively impact game performance.

Still, Microsoft’s parity policy has been controversial since the launch of the Xbox Series X|S. While mandating parity allows Series S owners to enjoy the same games as those with the significantly more expensive hardware and removing it would likely lead to confusion among consumers, some gamers and developers have accused the policy of holding the industry back.

Baldur’s Gate 3 may have reignited calls for Microsoft to reconsider its approach to parity, but Xbox players have reason to stay optimistic.

Baldur’s Gate 3 director Swen Vincke has said Microsoft is helping Larian sort out the issues, and the developer hopes to update fans on their progress by the end of the year.