It was a big moment for PC gaming when Microsoft stopped releasing their games exclusively through the Microsoft Store and started hosting them on Steam. It was not every First a Microsoft game, but now it’s headed in that direction – just three days ago, Bethesda announced it was ditching its own launcher and releasing everything on Steam in the future. But Microsoft also has Game Pass, a subscription service that has grown to millions of subscribers on Windows and Xbox, and those games, in particular, are still running without their own app, not Steam. When I spoke with Valve President Gabe Newell last week about Steam Deck, I asked him if Valve was interested in having their own subscription service and if we could see Game Pass games on Steam in the future.
“I don’t think that’s what we think we need to do ourselves, building a subscription service at this time,” Newell said. “But it’s clearly a popular option for their customers, and we’d be more than happy to work with them to get it on Steam.”
It looks like we won’t be seeing a “Steam Pass” subscription anytime soon, but there’s at least a chance that Game Pass games will be available to download from Steam. There’s a precedent here: EA Play, EA’s game subscription service, was added to Steam in 2020. But Game Pass is likely to be more difficult. Currently, the service provides different versions of games than what the developers release on Steam, so we often see problems popping up that are specific to Game Pass games.
If getting a Game Pass on Steam helps Microsoft sell more subscriptions, it’s likely that it could eventually happen. Xbox boss Phil Spencer also tweeted positively about Valve’s new Linux-based portable, the Steam Deck. “We talked to people a lot about this,” Newell said. “If your customers want it, you have to figure out how to do it. That’s where we are.”
Steam Deck isn’t quite ready for Game Pass yet. As of this writing on February 25, Valve and AMD are still working on finalizing driver compatibility for installing Windows on Steam Deck. Once this is sorted out, those brave enough to dual-boot will be able to play their Game Pass games on the go.