Why the most played Steam Deck games in September proves we don’t need a successor soon

steam deck most played games starfield and baldur's gate 3

The latest top 20 games played on the Steam Deck through September have landed, with no surprises as to what’s taken top spots.

Every month, Valve reveals the most-played games on Steam Deck for that month, and September was a very busy one. Which charming indie games have taken hold of the portable market? How are the biggest games from last month faring? While the Steam Deck Top 20 is a great read, this time, it feels a little unsurprising.

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In previous months we’ve seen indie darlings beat out major players, while Elden Ring remains as a dominant presence, over a year after its initial release. However, was it ever going to be surprising that the biggest two RPGs launching in 2023 would top the charts?

A screenshot from the game StarfieldBethesda Game Studios

Both Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield currently hold the two coveted highest positions, removing Dave the Diver from way up top. It’s interesting to note that both of the top two games don’t run particularly well on the Steam Deck. Baldur’s Gate 3’s later acts have routinely been reported for running poorly on decent hardware, let alone the weaker processor inside the Steam Deck.

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Starfield, which has seen some improvement after the 3.5 beta launch, still only runs at a maximum of 30FPS to 40FPS in certain situations. It just goes to show that we’re reaching a point where we’re going to ask if most players care about the ongoing hunt for graphical fidelity or just being able to play the video game at all.

We don’t need a Steam Deck 2 anytime soon

Kurt Hansen Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom LibertyCD Projekt RED

Other notable entries on the list include the From Software’s return to the mech genre, with Armored Core VI – another title that runs mediocre on the Steam Deck – and Sea of Stars, the RPG which got an incredible 5/5 in our review. Meanwhile, V and the newly introduced Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 patch, along with the Phantom Liberty expansion, are clearly making waves on Valve’s handheld.

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So, what does all of this mean? Well. While not every game will give you a buttery smooth 60 FPS, it shows that most brand-new titles still run, and are in fact playable on the Steam Deck. As long as this remains the case, Valve will be reticent to lock down hardware for a Steam Deck 2 until the jump in performance becomes warranted, a far cry from the dozens of handhelds released by the likes of Ayaneo every year.

To be honest, it seems like this is the right way to go, as we want whatever hardware we purchase to stand the test of time, and the Steam Deck just seems like an obvious killer purchase, even over a year since it’s initial launch.

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