How to play Diablo 4 on Steam Deck

A Steam Deck screenshot showing the “Switch to Desktop” option in the Power menu,

A Steam Deck screenshot showing the Google Chrome browser in the discover store in desktop mode.

A Steam Deck desktop screenshot showing the “Add to Steam” option for the Battle.net installation executable.

A Steam Deck desktop screenshot, showing the Battle.net Setup executable in the Steam library.

A screenshot of the compatibility screen of the Battle.net executable, as seen in the Steam library.

A screenshot of the file explorer menu, showing the location of external storage on the Steam Deck.

A screenshot of the Battle.net menu, displaying the “Show in Explorer” option for Diablo 4.

A screenshot of the Battle.net file explorer, showing the installation directory for Diablo 4.

A Steam Deck desktop screenshot showing the “Add to Steam” option for the Diablo 4 executable.

A screenshot of the Battle.net “Scan For Games” function, showing a detected installation of Diablo 4.

A Steam Deck screenshot showing the Diablo 4 executable in the Recent Games bar.

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Diablo 4 has finally arrived, and I’ve already played more of this game on my Steam Deck than on my more powerful gaming desktop. I was spoiled by playing Diablo 3: Ultimate Edition on the Nintendo Switch, not just because of its controller support, but because I could grind out my characters wherever it suited me. And now, I can’t look back.

The thing is, for PC, Diablo 4 is on Battle.net only, not Steam, so it isn’t natively supported by the Steam Deck. However, it is possible to get the game running (and running well) with a little effort. The whole process takes roughly 30 minutes, depending on your experience with the Deck’s desktop mode. No matter your familiarity, this guide will show you how to play the game on your Deck.

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First, with your Steam Deck on, head into desktop mode by pressing the physical Steam button. In the pop-up window, select the power option, and then select “Switch to Desktop.”

A Steam Deck screenshot showing the “Switch to Desktop” option in the Power menu,

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill

You’ll need a web browser for this, so in case you don’t have one, head to Discover (the little shopping bag icon) on the taskbar, and search for Chrome (or your browser of choice) in the top left corner. If you don’t have a Bluetooth keyboard paired with your Steam Deck, you can summon the on-screen keyboard by pressing the Steam and X buttons at the same time.

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A Steam Deck screenshot showing the Google Chrome browser in the discover store in desktop mode.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

Once a browser is installed, open it and search for Battle.net. Click on the first option, then there will be an option to download the game launcher right at the top of the that page.

After the file has been downloaded, open your downloads folder by clicking the file explorer (the folder icon on the taskbar called Dolphin). If you have a mouse connected, right click the file “Battle.net-Setup.exe,” or pull the left trigger that mimics the right click action. Then, in the drop-down menu, click the option that says “Add to Steam.” You may see a pop-up from Steam that asks you to add a non-Steam game. If so, simply tap “Browse” on the lower left corner, then select the installer in your downloads folder.

A Steam Deck desktop screenshot showing the “Add to Steam” option for the Battle.net installation executable.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

We’re not done yet. After that, open Steam on your desktop (an icon should be there by default). When Steam launches, you should see the name of the Battle.net installer file that you just downloaded along the left side within the “Library” view. Click once to select it, then move your cursor over to the gear-shaped icon on the right (hovering over it shows the word “Manage”). Click it, then navigate go down to “Properties.”

A Steam Deck desktop screenshot, showing the Battle.net Setup executable in the Steam library.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

In Properties, you’ll see two options: “Shortcut” and “Compatibility.” Under Compatibility, you’ll find an option that says “Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool.” Check the box, and you’ll be provided a drop-down button containing a list of different Proton builds. Select “Proton Experimental,” close the settings menu, and then run the installer.

A screenshot of the compatibility screen of the Battle.net executable, as seen in the Steam library.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

Run through the Battle.net installation as you would on your desktop. By default, the installation will happen on your onboard storage, but alternatively, you can store the app and your games on a microSD card by changing the save destination. On my Steam Deck, it’s nested within the “Z” directory. After clicking into that, expand the “run” folder, then the “media” folder. Lastly, you’ll click the name attached to your microSD card. In our case it’s “mmcblk0p1.” If you mess up at this stage, simply delete the installer from your Steam library, and start the process over.

A screenshot of the file explorer menu, showing the location of external storage on the Steam Deck.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

Once the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to enter your login credentials, after which you can follow the prompts to install Diablo 4 as you would on your desktop PC. If your Steam Deck’s SSD doesn’t have enough free space, you can change the installation location of the game to your removable storage using the same process as before.

A screenshot of the Battle.net menu, displaying the “Show in Explorer” option for Diablo 4.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

Almost done. With Diablo 4 installed in Battle.net, click the settings icon next to the blue “Play” button, then select “Show in Explorer.” This will open a small window that contains the game’s files. Copy the destination directory by highlighting the text in the bar, right clicking it, and selecting “copy” (in our case, it’s Z:runmediammcblk0p1Diablo 4), then go to your desktop.

A screenshot of the Battle.net file explorer, showing the installation directory for Diablo 4.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

Open the file explorer we used earlier (the folder icon in the taskbar called Dolphin), then paste the destination into the bar at the top of the file explorer to quickly find where Diablo 4 is installed. Open the Diablo 4 folder, scroll down a little, and you should see a file called “Diablo IV.exe,” right-click on it (or, again, as an alternative, you can tap the left trigger), and select “Add to Steam,” just like we did with the Battle.net installer.

A Steam Deck desktop screenshot showing the “Add to Steam” option for the Diablo 4 executable.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

Now, head back over to the Steam app, and you’ll find that file (Diablo IV.exe) in your library. Like before, you’ll want to change the compatibility to “Proton Experimental” using the same steps we outlined earlier for the Battle.net installer.

Launch the application in Steam, and you’ll be taken through the steps of installing and logging into Battle.net again. Don’t worry — you didn’t mess up. Once you finish that process, it should automatically detect your installation of Diablo 4.

A screenshot of the Battle.net “Scan For Games” function, showing a detected installation of Diablo 4.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

With all that done, press play, and it’ll launch Diablo 4. For future sessions, you can launch the game from the Steam Deck’s default view, called “gaming mode.” Just select “Play” once you’ve logged into Battle.net.

A Steam Deck screenshot showing the Diablo 4 executable in the Recent Games bar.

Image: Alice Newcome-Beill/Polygon

While the framerate can dip and stutter occasionally, the Steam Deck handles Diablo 4 pretty well. Currently, the biggest issue I’ve encountered is with using suspend mode on the Steam Deck. Powering off the Steam Deck for over a minute will disconnect you from the Diablo 4 servers, and I haven’t found a way to reconnect without exiting the game altogether.

If you want to make your Diablo 4 icon more spiffy than just a blank box, head over to the Steam Grid database, where you can find fan-made art that you can put on your Deck.

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