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Will Starfield run on Steam Deck and ASUS ROG Ally?

Find out whether Starfield will be available on either handheld console at launch

A photo of a Steam Deck propped up on a desk, with a Starfield screenshot superimposed over the Steam Deck's screen.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Wondering whether you'll be able to play Starfield on the Steam Deck or the ASUS ROG Ally? One might think that a gargatuan RPG like Starfield would be a tall order for handheld consoles to run, but we've seen the Steam Deck play mammoths like Elden Ring last year. And the ASUS ROG Ally's specs are more impressive still. The performance is never going to match what you can enjoy with a high-end gaming PC, of course, but if buttery smooth performance isn't a necessity for you, then handheld may be a good way to go!

In this guide we'll explore the system specs of both the Steam Deck and the ASUS ROG Ally, and answer the question of whether Starfield will run effectively on either of these popular PC-adjacent consoles when it releases this September.

Was Starfield worth the wait? Liam and Alice B discuss this question - and more - in the video above.Watch on YouTube

Will Starfield run on Steam Deck?

There is not yet an official stance on whether Starfield will be Steam Deck compatible. But based on what we've seen so far, it seems likely that Starfield will run on Steam Deck - but it might not run terribly well.

The Steam Deck's GPU is roughly equivalent to a GeForce GTX 1050 in power, which is a significant step down from the 1070 Ti listed in Steam's minimum Starfield PC requirements. It's a similar story with the CPU and memory, with the Steam Deck's specs falling short of the minimum requirements.

On the plus side, the Steam Deck only needs to run Starfield at its native resolution of 1280x800, and it's likely that Bethesda are working on optimising Starfield specifically for the Steam Deck. Starfield is confirmed to support FSR 2.0, AMD's upscaling technology, which will likely be necessary to achieve decent performance on the Deck. But, to put it kindly, Bethesda have never been very good at releasing well-optimised games with stable performance across a wide range of devices.

Another option, only available for owners of an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, would be to set up Xbox Cloud Gaming on the Steam Deck and stream from a more powerful machine to your Steam Deck. But while this may improve Starfield's frame rate on the Steam Deck, it's a bit of a hassle to set up and will result in quite a bit of input lag which may dampen your enjoyment of the game on your favourite handheld.

Our educated guess is that Starfield will almost certainly be playable on Steam Deck, but it will be far from the smoothest experience you can have with the game. But perhaps Bethesda will surprise us!

Will Starfield run on ASUS ROG Ally?

The ASUS ROG Ally is the Steam Deck's superior in almost every way when it comes to specs, and so you'll have a better chance of running Starfield on the ASUS ROG Ally at a decent frame rate (read: 30 fps or higher). However, these specs may still fall a bit short of the minimum specs listed on Steam in some areas.

The Ally's GPU is roughly equivalent to a GeForce GTX 1060 or 1650, which is definitely a step up from the Steam Deck's GPU but still not quite at the same level as the minimum requirement of a 1070 Ti. The CPU is a different story however, with the Ally's AMD processor exceeding the capabilities of the recommended Ryzen 5 3600X or Intel i5-10600K. And the memory and storage capabilities of the Ally are well up to the task of handling Starfield's immense cosmic bulk.

The GPU is still likely to bottleneck Starfield's performance on the 1080p screen of the ASUS ROG Ally, so you may need to run everything on the lowest settings while the Ally is plugged in to play Starfield at a good frame rate. Either that or opt for the Xbox Cloud Gaming solution if you have a Game Pass Ultimate subscription (again, at the cost of input lag and setup time). But of the two handhelds, you're likely to have a far easier time running Starfield on the Ally than the Steam Deck.

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