Bethesda’s Starfield is finally out on PC and Xbox, but the massive sci-fi RPG isn’t exactly playable on PC’s handheld darling: Steam Deck.
After you get through the Starfield crashing, and Starfield audio issues on Steam Deck, Bethesda’s sci-fi RPG can technically be played on the handheld PC. However, Starfield’s Steam Deck performance on the portable makes the game pretty much a no-go.
As explained on numerous posts on the Steam Deck subreddit, Starfield Steam Deck performance is fine in small areas, but cities, third-person gameplay and sizeable combat encounters make the game less than ideal on the platform.
On the absolute lowest settings possible, the opening mission of Starfield hits a rock-solid 30fps on Steam Deck. However, as you escape the initial cave and fight Crimson Raiders on the planet’s surface, the dips start to occur. If you enter third-person mode, you’ll always be in the mid-20s.
Performance gets even worse when you enter the first major city of New Atlantis. The sprawling sci-fi city causes Valve’s handheld to absolutely chug, causing large stutters, 15fps gameplay as well as looking visually underwhelming compared to the game on other platforms.
While the poor performance will undoubtedly be disappointing to hardcore Steam Deck fans, it’s not too surprising. Following the issues surrounding later areas of Baldur’s Gate 3 on the platform, Starfield’s huge scope of its cities and density of assets wasn’t ever expected to run well on the handheld.
Nevertheless, Starfield will undoubtedly receive a number of performance improvements from the modding community. In fact, one day, the game may even be deemed playable on Steam Deck via the work of modders.
At the time of writing, a number of performance mods are already available, which could certainly help get more playable performance on the system. While they may not be the best Starfield mods, they will certainly be the most useful.
While Starfield isn’t the Steam Deck success many were hoping for, it’s still proving to be extremely popular on PC and console. With DLC and patches on the way, Bethesda has seemingly pulled it off.