If you have recently bought a Steam Deck, you probably want to enhance its functionality with some useful Steam Deck plugins.
Like Steam Deck shortcuts, plugins can really make your life easier when it comes to using Valve's handheld console. These plugins will help you streamline your Steam experience, help you find new games to play, adjust the performance of your console, and much more.
In this article, we'll be highlighting some must-have plugins for any Steam Deck user, each of which offers unique features and capabilities that can help you get more out of your handheld PC.
Some must have Steam Deck plugins
Whether you're a hardcore gamer or just a casual player, there are plenty of Steam Deck plugins that will interest you. From customizing the interface to adding your favourite games to the library, these plugins will make sure that your Steam experience is more convenient.
We will discuss how to install Steam Deck plugins in the next section. Before that, let's take a look at some of the best Steam Deck plugins.
Compatibility Tools Manager
This useful plugin lets you install custom versions of Proton like Proton-GE directly from Steam. If you are looking to play unsupported games like Overwatch 2 on Steam Deck, you can use this plugin to install the experimental version of Proton onto your console.
All you have to do is go over to the available versions box, click install on whichever you want, and it is installed. You will need to restart your Steam client for the plugin to show up in Steam.
ProtonDB Indicator will add a Steam Deck compatibility rating from the ProtonDB website at the top of each game in the Steam store. Here are the different compatibility ratings you will see, from best to worst:
- Platinum: Runs perfectly out of the box
- Gold: Runs perfectly after tweaks
- Silver: Runs with minor issues, but generally is playable
- Bronze: Runs, but often crashes or has issues preventing from playing comfortably
- Borked: Either won’t start or is crucially unplayable
This plugin is very useful as it tells you exactly which games are compatible with your console and which ones aren’t. Btw, the critically-acclaimed action-adventure game Returnal is coming soon to Steam. Go over to ProtonDB to check the compatibility of Returnal on Steam Deck.
If you love vibrant and beautiful popping colours, this is the plugin for you. Released by ShadowApex, this plugin allows you to increase the saturation of your screen on the Steam Deck.
You can install this plugin via the Crankshaft plugin browser which can be accessed by pressing the Steam button. To use and access vibrantCrankshaft, all you have to do is go to your quick access menu and scroll down to the bottom cog wheel.
Other useful Steam Deck plugins
- Recapture: A hardware-accelerated game mode screen recorder.
- Improved Lock Screen: Adds battery, time, and date info to your lock screen.
- Custom Library Tabs: This lets you rearrange, hide, and create new library tabs in game mode.
So, these are a few plugins that are absolutely essential to any Steam Deck user. We would recommend you keep an eye on the Crankshaft plugin centre and install new useful plugins as they come out.
How to install Steam Deck plugins
Currently, there are two ways to install Steam Deck plugins, with the most popular being the Decky Loader. Unfortunately, installing Decky Loader is a bit complicated process; it requires giving the program root access, which in itself isn't hard, but an extra step.
Luckily, there is a much simpler solution: Crankshaft. This plugin loader is easy to install, has a nicer user interface and has some pretty amazing plugins to start off with.
Here is how to install Steam Deck plugins using Crankshaft:
- First, go to Settings > System and enable Developer Mode.
- Once that's done, select the Developer tab from the left-side menu, and then turn on CEF Remote Debugging.
- Then, go to the Discover store and install Crankshaft. Once installed, open it from your application list.
- Now, switch to Gaming Mode, press the Steam button and, if done correctly, you will notice some new options.
- Tap the Get Plugins option under Settings and start installing the plugins you like.
In case you don't see Crankshaft or the plugins you have installed are not loading, just do a quick restart and you will be fine.
And that covers everything about Steam Deck plugins. We will update the list as new plugins are added, but this should get you started.
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