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While consoles have little to no support for Discord, Valve’s Steam Deck laptop has a full version of the app. This lets you join the same voice channels and text chats you do on desktop or mobile Discord. Of course, you won’t find Discord in the Steam store, but you can install the Linux version in desktop mode. You can then run Discord in the background of SteamOS while playing games.
It works with Discord as well as music or podcasting apps. So far I’ve tested Discord, Spotify, and a background YouTube Music player while playing Elden Ring. Both programs ran simultaneously without issue. This is largely due to the optimizations Valve has made to its SteamOS environment.
Here’s how to run Discord or other apps in the background while you game:
- Hold down the power button until the menu appears. Select “Switch to desktop”.
- In desktop mode, click the Discover Store icon on the taskbar.
- Find Discord, Spotify, and/or any other app you want to run on SteamOS (download “Primary Keyboard” under the Accessibility tab if you need a virtual keyboard).
- Install the programs.
- Find them in the start menu, then log in to desktop mode.
- Open Steam, click the “+” button at the bottom left and select “add non-steam game”.
- Select Discord and other apps and add them.
Now go back to game mode and navigate to the non-steam tab of your library. You can open Discord or Spotify, then you can jump into a game. And even while you’re in a game, your Discord group will still hear you coming through the two microphones built into the face of the Steam Deck.
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