It doesn't look good for Starfield on Steam Deck, but Todd Howard isn't writing it off: 'We'll talk about that down the road'

Sci-fi planet
(Image credit: Bethesda)

While speaking on Kinda Funny's Xcast podcast, Starfield lead Todd Howard left the door open on the question of Steam Deck compatibility. The raw numbers of Starfield's minimum system requirements, however, don't paint a rosy picture.

While going over Starfield's accessibility features, Howard touched on its large font mode and how that can be useful on handhelds, though he also clarified that he had game streaming in mind here. With mention of handhelds, Xcast co-host Mike Howard asked about Steam Deck support, with the Bethesda veteran replying, "We'll talk about that later down the road."

Hardly conclusive, but the lack of an outright "no" is probably the best bit of news we've got when it comes to Deckfield. It's a faint glimmer of hope in the face of Starfield's beefy minimum system requirements, requirements even the Deck's lower resolution demands might not be able to elide.

Starfield minimum system requirements

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X, Intel Core i7-6800K
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5700, NVIDIA GeForce 1070 Ti
  • Storage: 125 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: SSD Required

Those minimum specs are likely pointing to 1080p resolution, low graphics, 30fps—at least that's what I'd expect of minimum requirements in 2023. With that in mind, the Deck has some wiggle room on the graphics card front: it's not a match for the 1070 Ti or 5700, but it's also aiming for a more forgiving 800p (potentially 720p) resolution.

However, while the Deck's 16 GB of RAM might sound like a match on paper, that pool is shared between the rest of the system and the GPU, instead of having discrete RAM and VRAM, so that's a distinct deficit. Equally problematic are those six core, twelve thread CPUs. The 2600X and 6800K are a generation older than the Deck's quad core, eight thread Zen 2, but that core count deficit might still be too much to handle, and there's not a lot of graphical tinkering you could do to make up for it.

That's not to mention the 125 GB of SSD space suggested, which immediately takes an unmodified base-model Deck off the table. With all that in mind, I'm fairly confident you could get Starfield running on the Steam Deck, but unless Bethesda do have Deck-specific plans in mind "later down the road," I don't think it'll ever be a desirable platform to enjoy the upcoming space epic on.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.