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Looks like Steam is getting a QR code login option

Steam QR code login
(Image credit: Valve, Pavel Djundik)

A recent update to Steam's code includes signs of an upcoming new login method: Scanning a QR code with the Steam mobile app. That's according to a tweet by SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik. 

The feature isn't live yet, but seems likely to release alongside the Steam Deck later this year to make logging in on the handheld more convenient. The Deck's touchscreen should mean typing in passwords won't be too onerous, but logging in by scanning a QR code sure sounds better to me.

The code Djundik highlighted shows two login options: one with account name and one with QR code. Login lines like "Awaiting your confirmation via the Steam Mobile app" indicate how the system will work. Djundik shared another screenshot from the in-development Steam build with a QR code box positioned alongside the typical Steam sign-in fields.

Valve's Steam Guard feature already supports two factor authentication using the Steam mobile app, so this makes sense as an extension of that functionality. It's a nice alternative to Steam Guard's ancient email verification option, which inevitably ends up getting buried in some Gmail folder full of advertisements, at least in my inbox. The Steam mobile authenticator is more convenient, as long as you don't mind opening up the Steam app on your phone.

Presumably the QR code sign-in will be available on Steam's desktop client as well as on the Steam Deck. When is the real question—Valve has said the Steam Deck will begin shipping in December of this year, and we'd expect its overhaul of SteamOS and the desktop Big Picture mode to land at the same time.

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Valve's handheld gaming PC will bring with it a new version of SteamOS and a big push for Proton, Valve's solution for running games built for Windows on the Linux-based Steam Deck with little effort on the part of developers. In recent weeks we've gotten a peek at how the new version of SteamOS could look on desktops and seen Valve reaffirm that it plans for every game in the Steam library to be playable on the Steam Deck.

To ensure players that their games will work, Valve is introducing a Verified badge that indicates good performance, controller support, and no other compatibility issues. Every game on Steam won't be vetted by launch (there are a lot of them), but it seems like they're already off to a good start. 

Wes Fenlon

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games. When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old RPG or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).