The Game-Changing Collaboration Behind the Steam Deck
Creator of the Steam Deck, Valve is known for its commitment to providing first-rate, innovative playing experiences, and since 2017 has relied on Keywords’ expert teams to provide the compatibility and certification testing necessary to provide best-in-class usability for its players.
It has become an evergreen partnership that allows Valve to focus on what it does best – creating exceptional gaming experiences – while Keywords handles the critical behind-the-scenes work of ensuring Steam remains a stable and secure platform.
Watching the popularity of Linux-based operating systems grow, and understanding the importance of providing support for them, Valve partnered with CodeWeavers to develop Proton, a system allowing players to run Windows-based games on Linux. It then went a step further, seamlessly integrating Proton into Steam and laying the foundations for its groundbreaking Steam Play initiative. The result: gamers could now purchase games once and enjoy them on any PC platform.
Keywords’ partnership with Valve began in 2017 and has evolved alongside the dynamic growth of Steam. Having initially provided a small team to handle post-release testing for top-selling games, we quickly took on a more central role assisting Valve Partners in meeting the rigorous standards required for Steam Deck Certification, offering constructive insights to CodeWeavers on Proton issues, and collaborating closely with Valve to enhance the overall user experience.
To meet each of the many challenges involved, Keywords initiated conversations that brought together a network of experts and stakeholders, developing innovative solutions through collective global expertise and a combination of big-picture thinking and granular engagement. We were able to provide invaluable feedback on every aspect of general player experience (including gamepad support, controller layout, legibility and usability) as well as on specific SteamOS issues such as sleep functionality. An optimised ticketing system enabled our teams to meet all player issues head-on and resolve them promptly.
The success of our collaboration with Valve is testament to the remarkable synergy between its development expertise and the unique testing capabilities that allow Keywords to resolve complex challenges while always maintaining quality and playability standards. Working hand-in-hand with the client, our team of dedicated testers has delivered an exceptionally enhanced platform that not only faithfully replicates the PC gaming experience but also pushes the performance boundaries of handheld gaming.