Yes, you can! While the Steam Deck is presented as a piece of hardware that is only meant to play Steam games, you can actually just use an emulator to get the Switch games you want on it and have fun. You can do this by installing Windows on your Steam Deck and running a Nintendo Switch Emulator.
The best way to play any console-exclusive game on a PC is by using an emulator. Emulators are programs that change the internal workings of the game in question so it can run on a PC properly, or they just use magic, we’re not quite sure. Either way, an emulator is the way to go for the Steam Deck as well as you can just install programs onto it like any other PC.
Civilization VI is a titan of a strategy game that allows you to guide a civilization of your choice from the ancient past through to the future, and you get to figure out how you want to rule the world as you go. You can choose to overcome everyone else using military might, create incredible wonders, or just go to space.
This is another game with cross-save too, and there are few things in gaming quite as satisfying as wanting to get one more turn in, and deciding to do so just before your fall asleep in the comfort of your own bed. It’s a joy to play no matter where you are, but it’s a lot of fun on Switch.
How much more expensive is the Steam Deck compared to the Switch?
Honestly, we see the Deck as a viable gaming PC alternative for those who don’t want to invest in a desktop and already have other gaming consoles for home use.
A year ago, we quoted a $500 gaming PC build. If you look hard enough, you could get the same specs these days for a lower price, but not by much, and certainly not without making compromises nor the many optimizations that Valve has made for the Steam Deck.
How to Connect a Wired Switch Controller to a PC
Before starting, make sure you have a working Switch controller with full battery life and a USB cable for it. You will need to connect this to a USB port on your PC. Follow these steps to get your Switch controller connected.
- With the USB cord, connect one end to the Switch controller (if it is a removable USB cord.)
How to play Steam games with a Nintendo Switch Pro controller
To set up your Nintendo Switch Pro controller for use on Steam, plug your controller into your PC with a USB-C cable. You likely have one of these lying around to charge your controller or any other number of items with the same plug-in port. When it is plugged in, open up Steam.
At the top left corner of the screen, select Steam and open up Settings. Go to the Controller section and click on General Controller Settings. This will open up a big picture mode for your controller settings. Among the options listed here is “Switch Pro Configuration Support.” Make sure that it is checked, and your controller is now ready to play any Steam game. To ensure it is connected, you should see a confirmation at the bottom of the screen with Configuration options in the top right corner.