A Steam deck reignited my love for homebrew PCs

self-made PC comes with unique thrills. Sure, it can be frustrating as hell — there’s a reason it’s a lot easier to buy a fully-fledged PC than it is to tinker yourself. If you haven’t had the joy of assembling your own PC, it’s not as easy as simply tossing the components into a tower, plugging them in and booting them up. There can be so many compatibility issues that you never thought of, from your processor to your motherboard to your graphics card. Will you overclock your processor? Does your system require liquid cooling? Can it even support liquid cooling?

I used to live this geek life on the edge. I looked for deals on components, swapped out graphics cards to get the best performance, stared blankly at my monitor during a BIOS flash and just hoped for the best. My PC was a source of endless frustration, but it was also such joy as I held my breath, booted things up and everything just worked.

It’s honestly a lifestyle – one I left behind more than a decade ago. I eventually decided that I preferred console gaming because it usually didn’t mean much more than turning on the console. I was tired of tinkering, trying to make things work. I wanted simplicity and haven’t looked back since. To be honest, I didn’t even miss it.

That is, until I got my hands on a Steam Deck. I’ve written quite a bit about this incredible little piece of technology. When I first got it I didn’t think I would experiment with it much. I was about to use Steam to catch up on some of the PC games I’d missed.

But then I saw someone talking about how they managed to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate working on their Steam deck. And let me tell you, it felt like a beacon in the night. This harmless little post blew me away. All of a sudden, I just wanted to figure out how to access as many different platforms as possible with games on my Steam Deck.

Thanks to my husband, I have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and I have a PlayStation 5, so I started googling. I know next to nothing about Linux, but I knew next to nothing about Windows when I started building my own PCs, and I made it.

Before I tell you how to do this (or at least link to the sources that directed me because I’m not tech savvy enough to figure that out myself), let me make a caveat: if you’re very accurate about FPS, Response Time and graphics quality, or if lags are driving you nuts in general, don’t bother. The games will run for sure, but don’t expect super high quality or high frame rate games. I’m honestly shocked that I haven’t had many problems considering how experimental this all is, but it’s also possible that my FrankenSteam could break at any time. Also, get a mouse and keyboard for your deck. It makes this whole process a lot easier.

Setting up Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was easy as Microsoft provides the instructions directly. It’s a beta of course, but it worked fine for me even when I was on the go and had a relatively slow internet connection. I’ve played through most of Star Wars: Squadrons without any noticeable lag or other issues.

PlayStation Remote Play was a bit more complicated and it’s important to note that it doesn’t work outside of my local network. Here’s a great how-to post from Reddit user mintcu7000. The only thing I would add is make sure you run the psn account id base64 script on your deck and copy and paste it into Chiaki. (I tried running and typing it on my computer and I got errors every time.) I played Stray this way for about four hours and it works so much better than PS streaming to my iPad (which is choppy , delayed and mostly unusable).

What struck me is how much I enjoyed this process – almost as much as the end result. It’s so nice to be able to play the majority of my game library on my Steam deck, but it’s also so satisfying to tinker with the backend of the system and just get it working. Every time I use one of these features, I feel proud because I made it possible.

Now all I can think about is what I’m going to find out next. Does anyone know how to play remotely on a switch?

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