One of the ways I spend the time I save by using GTD (German/automatic translation to English) is playing video/computer games. Normally, I don’t write about that here, but I’m just incredibly excited to have found a solution to an issue that seems to not have been fixed by anyone else in the world yet. Part of the reason for that is that a little number of people have a Steam Deck already and of those not a lot of people care about Stadia. But it’s a hack, and I seem to be the first one, so I need to write an article, especially as such hacks are my kind of thing.
Since last week, I’m a proud owner of a Steam Deck, something like a Nintendo Switch from the looks of it, but with a whole computer in it which is running Linux. I’m also a big fan of cloud gaming, initially with Google Stadia, even though the development of the platform could have been better. Therefore, naturally, I wanted to get Stadia running on my Steam Deck. All the reports on the web I read up to now said that it was hardly possible, unless you’re accepting that you need to use a Stadia Controller instead of the built-in controller. Which is basically a ridiculous thing to do, even though you could do it.
Anyway, I tried a few things just for fun, to see whether I might actually get it to work, and surprisingly I did.
What works & what doesn’t work!
Before you get too excited, it works, but’s not yet perfect. After some more time of testing, these general rules apply:
- generally speaking, anything with first-person perspective works pretty well. You may need to reassign some buttons, but most games are already playable with the standard configuration. Since first person perspective games ususally require way more storage space, that’s a great situation, at least if you have a 64GB Steam Deck like me.
- I tried the following first-person games before writing this, and they all work fine:
- Fenyx rising
- Resident Evil 7
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Division 2
- Y’s VIII – Lacrimosa of Dana
- Jedi Fallen Order
- generally speaking, 2D games seem to depend more on the keys the developers selected for the keyboard controls, therefore your results may vary more. But as these games generally use less storage space, I don’t mind that much. You can also just by those games on Steam and install them if it’s a new game.
- I tried the following 2D games with different results:
- Monster Boy & the Cursed Kingdom: almost unplayable – needs button reassignment
- Bloodstained: playable, but button assigment is partly odd. But that should be easy to fix.
- the control pad of the steam deck is only partly recognized as a control pad in Stadia: how well it works depends on the game. The Steam Deck selects the controller configuration “website”, which does work, but leads to some quirks. Stadia recognizes all buttons, but they’re actually corresponding to keys on a keyboard & mouse combination. The gamepad configuration doesn’t work. For the best result, you’ll probably have to create a custom key layout and match the keypad buttons to the respective keyboard characters used for the respective action in the game.
Step 1: Install the Brave browser in Desktop Mode
You can boot to Desktop Mode on your Steam Deck by pressing the Steam button, select Power & then press the option for Desktop Mode. The Steam Deck will then boot to a Linux desktop which you need in order to do some of the preparation.
Warning: only do the following steps with a keyboard & mouse connected via a USB C Hub or Bluetooth. Unless you really enjoy pain, that is.
- Open the package manager by either clicking on the Steam Deck icon on the very lower left or pressing the Windows Button on a keyboard.
- Enter “discover” to find the software center. For me it was already pinned to the task bar, so that might also be an option.
- in the package manager, search for “Brave” and install it (in your case you’ll see a blue “install” where it says remove on the screenshot.
Why Brave instead of Chrome? I tried the same thing with Chrome and it didn’t work. 🙁
Since Brave is my favorite browser currently, I installed it anyway and therefore tried again.
Add Brave as a non-Steam Game to your Steam library
In order to access Brave in the normal Steam Deck interface, you need to add it to your Steam library.
- Find out the path to the Brave application. It may be the same as mine, depending on whether Valve changes anything regarding the location of that path. Mine’s this here (without any spaces or linebreaks):
You can look it up by entering “brave” when you open the menu that’s similar to Windows’ Start Menu and doing a right click and selecting “Edit application”
- Once you’re there, copy the path from the field “points to”:
- Now you need to open Steam, go to your library and click “+ Add a game” and then “Add a Non-Steam Game…”:
- Now, you need to click on “Browse…” and work your way through the file structure to the location of Brave we now know:
Changes modes & (mostly) enjoy Stadia on your Steam Deck
That’s it – you only need to exit the Desktop Mode by doing a restart. Then start Brave, go to stadia.com, log in & enjoy!