How to play Xbox and PC Game Pass games on Steam Deck

Joel Loynds
game pass on steam deck

Playing Xbox and PC Game Pass games on your Steam Deck requires a little technical know-how, but we’ve found a couple of ways to do it with as little stress as possible.

The Steam Deck is a glorious piece of tech, and with the upgraded OLED model only cementing its place as one of the best handhelds, the question of how to play Game Pass games is on everyone’s lips. Those coming in new to the Steam Deck ecosystem might be a little perplexed as to why they can’t install Game Pass apps and have to stream them.

However, there’s a good reason for it, and we have some excellent ways to get these games running on your device. For those coming into it with an OLED Steam Deck, you’ll be benefitting from the Wi-Fi 6e speeds, which should provide a much better connection.

How to play Game Pass games on Steam Deck

If you’re the type of person to wants to play games with a local version, your only choice is to go with a dual-boot Windows setup.

Steam Deck fancy image

This will also allow you to play games like Modern Warfare 2, Destiny 2, and Fortnite.

With UWP in place, there are a few methods to get Game Pass games working on the Steam Deck, the easiest of which is to stream them.

This is the best option for those who don’t want to install Windows 11 on their Steam Deck, which takes a lot more work due to its unique hardware. You can’t just install and go, there are drivers and more to install. All in all, streaming is currently the easiest way to go about this.

Install Microsoft Edge

  • Switch to desktop mode
  • Select the ‘Discover’ app
  • Search for ‘Microsoft Edge’
  • Install Microsoft Edge

As long as you use a Chromium browser, you should be able to stream games just fine. Chromium powers both Chrome and Edge, so we’ll go with Edge for simplicity’s sake.

Firefox won’t work, so you’ll need to grab Edge from the Discover app store. To download Microsoft Edge, you’ll need to put the Steam Deck into desktop mode.

Screenshot of desktop mode on Steam Deck.

From desktop mode, open the ‘Discover’ app by selecting the small blue bag icon from the bottom toolbar on the screen. While on the Discover app, type ‘Microsoft Edge’ into the search bar, and after a list of apps has populated, click ‘Install’ on the top result.

Add Microsoft Edge to Steam

  • Switch to desktop mode
  • Select Steam Deck Launcher
  • Navigate to ‘All Applications’
  • Scroll down to ‘Microsoft Edge’
  • Right-click & press ‘Add to Steam’

Now let’s add it to Steam. While still in desktop mode, navigate to the Steam Deck Launcher and select the launcher icon from the desktop toolbar. After selecting the Steam Deck Launcher, scroll up to ‘All Applications’ and find Microsoft Edge from the list of apps.

Hover over ‘Microsoft Edge’ and right-click by pressing the L2 trigger button. From the now-opened drop-down menu, scroll down and select ‘Add to Steam.’ This will add it to your Steam library, where it can be accessed as a ‘non-Steam’ game within gaming mode. Once we’ve done that, we can move on.

Screenshot of desktop mode on the Steam Deck.

Now, you want to then open Konsole, the terminal app on SteamOS. This will require you to copy-paste the following in:

flatpak –user override –filesystem=/run/udev:ro

With this copied in, it’ll give Edge access to your controls when we swap over to Gaming Mode.

To access the on-screen keyboard in Desktop Mode, press Steam+X.

However, navigating to the website means it will be a hassle each and every time you load up Edge in Gaming Mode on the Deck. Rather than doing that each time, Microsoft has cooked up some parameters for the Steam Deck to follow.

Find Edge in your Steam Library, right-click, and press properties. Then find Launch Options and copy-paste the following after the @@u @@ (be sure to keep the space):

–window-size=1024,640 –force-device-scale-factor=1.25 –device-scale-factor=1.25 –kiosk “”

Save and you can now exit out to Gaming Mode. Inside Gaming Mode, when you load up Edge for the first time, you should be sent straight to Xbox Cloud Streaming.

To access Xbox Games Pass titles, you will need an active Xbox Games Pass subscription.

What is UWP?

xbox game pass logo

On Windows, the games aren’t installed as your usual .exe, and then a list of files that it pulls from to run the game. That’s all there, but is converted and sorted as a UWP, Universal Windows Platform. This essentially allows developers to create an application (in this case a game) that then will go out to all of Microsoft’s platforms.

UWP originally held a lot more weight when Windows 8 came about. Since Microsoft ditched the Metro UI (may god rest its soul) and the Windows Store doesn’t really do all that much outside installing Game Pass and streaming apps, it is now just a cumbersome file type to prevent piracy.

You can see our guides on how to install Epic Games Store titles to your Steam Deck, as well as how to play your free Amazon Prime Gaming games.

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