How to Play Genshin Impact on the Steam Deck

In this tutorial, we will be showing you how it is possible to play Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck.

Genshin Impact on the Steam Deck

Genshin Impact is an action online role-playing game that has proven incredibly popular since its release. It has featured constant extensive updates that keep players hooked.

As this game isn’t available through the Steam Store, we will have to install this popular game through its own launcher.

Installing the Genshin Impact launcher on your Steam Deck is more of a time-consuming process than a complicated one. Additionally, the game takes up a considerable amount of space, so you may need a large MicroSD card to install the game.

By the end of the following sections, you should have Genshin Impact installed on your Steam Deck and be able to play the game while in gaming mode.

Before continuing, please note that Genshin Impact does not have official support for Linux systems like Steam OS. There is a chance you can get banned by running the Genshin Impact through unsupported means.

Installing and Playing Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck

Over the following sections, you will be installing Genshin Impact to your Steam Deck. To make this experience a bit easier, you can plug in a keyboard and mouse.

However, this tutorial can be completed using the Steam Deck’s controls exclusively.

Moving to Desktop Mode.

1. To install Genshin Impact to your Steam Deck, you must exit to desktop mode.

To get to this mode first open up the STEAM menu. You can open this menu by pressing the deck’s STEAM button or tappingSTEAM menu” in the bottom-left corner.

Open the STEAM menu

2. With the STEAM menu open, navigate and select the “Power” option.

Select the Power Option

3. You will now be greeted with a couple of different options. Select the “Switch to desktop” option to continue.

Switch to desktop mode

Downloading the Genshin Impact Launcher to your Steam Deck

4. Now that you are in desktop mode, you need to open a web browser.

In our case, we will be using the Chrome web browser on our Steam Deck.

Open your favourite web browser

5. With the web browser open, open the official Genshin Impact website by going to the following URL (1.).

Once on this page, tap the “PC Download” button (2.). Hoyo updates this website often, so it may look different to what we have shown below.

Download the Genshin Impact Installer to the Steam Deck

Adding the Genshin Impact Installer to your Steam Library

6. Back on the desktop, you must open the Steam Client.

You can open this by double-tapping/clicking the “Steam” icon.

Launch the Steam Client

7. With the desktop Steam Deck client open, we can proceed to add the Genshin Impact Installer.

To start this process, click the “Add a Game” (1.) button in the bottom-left corner.

With the context menu open, click the “Add a Non-Steam Game...” button (2.).

Add non-steam game

8. Now that the “Add Non-Steam Game” dialog is open, click the “Browse...” button to continue.

Select browse button

9. You should now have a file dialog box open on your device. Start by clicking the “Downloads” option in the sidebar (1.).

Next, find the “GenshinImpact_install” file within this directory (2.) and tap/click it.

Once the Genshin Impact installer is selected on your Steam Deck, click the “Open” button (3.).

Locate Genshin Impact Installer in the Steam Deck Downloads Folder

10. With the Genshin Impact Installer selected (1.), all you need to do is click the “Add Selected Programs” (2.) button.

Add Genshin Impact Installer to the Steam Deck Library

Changing the Compatibility Mode

11. Your next step is to adjust the compatibility mode for the Genshin Impact Installer so that it is run through the Steam Deck’s Proton compatibility layer.

Start this process by finding the installer within your Steam library. The easiest way is to search for “genshin” using the search box (1.).

You should eventually see an entry that starts with “GenshinImpact_install“, select this entry to continue (2.).

Find Genshin Impact within the Steam Deck Library

12. To get to the preferences screen, you must first click the cog icon (1.) on the right side of the screen.

In the context menu that appears, click the “Properties...” option to continue (2.).

Open the properties page

13. Now that the preferences screen is open, change to the compatibility tab (1.).

Once on the compatibility tab, ensure that the “Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool” is ticked (2.).

Next, ensure that the version of Proton is set to “Proton Experimental” (3.). This branch gets the latest fixes meaning games like Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck will get fixed faster.

Enable Proton Compatibility for Genshin Impact on Steam

Installing Genshin Impact to your Steam Deck

14. At this point, you are finally ready to install the Genshin Impact launcher to the Steam Deck.

To launch the installer, click the “PLAY” button.

Launch the Genshin Impact Installer on your Steam Deck

15. Once the installer is open on your device, you must first agree to the terms of service and privacy policy (1.).

After accepting these policies, you can begin the installation process by clicking the “Install Now” button (2.).

Please note that this is only installing the Launcher. The launcher will install the entirety of the game later.

Agree to terms and conditions and install now

16. Before the installation can proceed, you will need to install the Microsoft Visual C++ redistributable.

To install this piece of software, you must first agree to the terms and conditions (1.).

Once you have accepted these terms, click the “Install” button (2.) to proceed.

Agree to Microsoft Redistributable and install

17. Once the installation completes, you want to press the “Run Now” button.

Launch the Genshin Impact Launcher on the Steam Deck

18. We are finally at the point where we can install Genshin Impact itself onto the Steam Deck.

You can start this download immediately by pressing the “Get Game” button or changing the installation path by clickingChange file path“.

Adjust installation path

19. If you choose to set the installation location, you can now click the “Change” button (1.). This button will bring up a file browser that allows you to choose where this game is installed.

Once you are happy with the install location, click the “Install” button (2.).

Select path and install now

20. Please note the installation can take a while. This length larger depends on your internet connection speed.

Return to this tutorial once the installation completes and your launcher is now showing “Launch” as shown below.

Quit out of the launcher once you have gotten to this point.

Genshin Impact installed to the Steam Deck

Changing the Launch and Start in Target

21. With the game installed, we need to adjust the Genshin Impact entry in our Steam Deck’s library so that it launches the game and not the installer.

To change this, we will need to open the properties screen by clicking the cog (1.) and then the “Properties...” option (2.).

Adjust properties for Genshin Impact Again

22. The first thing you should do is rename the shortcut by using the textbox at the top. For our example, we renamed this to “Genshin Impact“.

Remember, you can bring up the keyboard by pressing STEAM + X on your device.

Rename Genshin Impact Shortcut within the Steam Library

Setting the Launch Target to Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck

23. With the shortcut renamed, let us move on to setting Steam to Launch Genshin Impact on our Steam Deck rather than its installer.

To start this process, click the “Browse...” button next to the “TARGET” textbox.

Begin browsing to the launch target

Please note on older releases of Steam, there may only be a single “Browse” button below both the “TARGET” and “START IN” headers.

24. Before selecting the Genshin Impact launcher on the Steam Deck, we must set the file browser to show hidden files.

To bring up these options, click the icon in the top-right corner of the file browser (1.).

In the context menu that appears, click the “Show Hidden Files” option (2.).

Show hidden files within the file browser

25. With hidden file enabled, search for and open the folder named “.local“.

Browse to the ".local" directory

26. Your next option is to open the folder labeled “share“.

Change to the share directory

27. Next, scroll through the folder until you find the “Steam” directory and open it.

Navigate into the Steam Folder

28. Now switch to the folder with the label “steamapps“.

Locate and open the steamapps folder

29. The next folder you will want to open is the one called “compatdata“. This is where Steam stores every game and application that is being run under Proton.

Open the compatdata folder

30. Your next step is to click the “Date” header (1.) till the arrow points downwards. This orders the files folders from newest to oldest.

You will then want to open the directory at the top of the list (2.). This should be the one that was created when Genshin Impact was installed on your Steam Deck.

Note the folder name, as that will make the next section easier.

Sort by modified date and open latest

31. Next, open the folder named “pfx” to continue.

Browse into the PFX folder

32. You will now want to move into the folder with the label “drive_c“.

Navigate into the drive_c directory

33. Now open the “Program Files” directory. This is where Genshin Impact was installed earlier.

Open the Pgram Files directory

34. The final folder we must open will be labeled “Genshin Impact“.

Change into the Genshin Impact directory on the Steam Deck

35. We are finally in the right directory. Scroll down till you find the executable with the name “launcher.exe” and tap/click it (1.).

Once the Genshin Impact launcher is selected on your Steam Deck, click the “Open” button (2.).

Select the Genshin Impact Launcher executable

Setting the Start In Directory

36. If your “START IN” directory was not automatically updated then you must set it manually.

You can begin this process by clicking the “Browse...” button next to the “START IN” text box.

Browse for the start in directory

37. This dialog box works a bit differently from the previous one. Before proceeding, we will need to enable hidden folders.

To do this, right-click within the dialog box. You can do this by pressing L1 on your Steam Deck.

In the context menu that appears, click the “Show Hidden Folders” option.

Show hidden files within folder dialog box

38. We now need to browse to the Proton directory where Genshin Impact was installed.

Start this process by opening the folder labeled “.local“. We found using the D-PAD on our Steam Deck made navigating these folders far easier.

Select the .local directory

39. Next, open up the folder that has the name “share“.

Open the share director

40. Now scroll down the list until you find the one with the label “Steam” and open it.

Enter the Steam folder

41. Within this folder, you will want to find the directory with the name “steamapps“.

Enter the steamapps folder

42. You will now want to find the “compatdata” folder within this list.

Open the compatdata directory

43. Now that we are in the Proton directory, locate the folder with the same name as the one you opened in the previous section.

Select Proton Directory where Genshin Impact was installed on the Steam Deck

44. Next, open up the “pfx” directory to continue.

Open the pfx folder

45. You should now navigate to the folder with the label “drive_c“.

Open the drive_c Proton folder

46. You will now want to find and open the directory named “Program Files“.

Move into the Program Files Directory

47. Now that we are in the correct location, click the folder labeled “Genshin Impact” (1.).

Once selected, click the “OK” button (2.).

Select the Genshin Impact directory on the Steam Deck and hit Open

Ensure Target has Double Quotes

48. With both the “TARGET” and “START IN” options set, there is one last task you need to complete.

Ensure that the “TARGET” field has a double quote (") at the start and end. Without it, your Steam Deck won’t be able to launch the Genshin Impact launcher.

Correct target field missing double quotes

Return To Gaming Mode

49. At this point, everything should be set, and Genshin Impact should be ready to run within gaming mode on your Steam Deck.

To return to gaming mode, go to the desktop and double click on the “Return to Gaming Mode” icon.

Return to gaming mode

Finding Genshin Impact in the Steam Deck Library

50. Now that you are back in gaming mode, change to the Steam Deck library.

You can access this by opening the STEAM menu and selecting the “Library” option.

Change into the Steam Deck library

51. Once you are within your Steam library, change to the “NON-STEAM” (1.) tab.

Next, you will want to find and select the “Genshin Impact” entry (2.).

Find Genshin Impact in the Steam Deck library

Changing the Default Input Settings for Genshin Impact on the Steam Deck

52. To improve the initial experience of playing Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck, you will want to adjust the input settings.

You can begin changing the input layout by clicking the controller icon, as shown below.

Adjust input settings for Genshin impact

53. You will now want to select the current layout so that you can adjust it.

Change default input layout

54. You now have a couple of choices; you can browse the “TEMPLATES” tab (1.) for official templates or browse the “COMMUNITY LAYOUTS” (2.) for one that suits Genshin Impact.

If you are sticking with the official layouts, we recommend starting with the one labeled “Keyboard (WASD) and Mouse” (3.). You may need to adjust this to map your Steam Deck to Genshin Impact’s controls.

Choose better custom layout

55. Once you select a layout, you can press the X button to apply it.

Apply layout changes

Playing Genshin Impact on the Steam Deck

56. You can start Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck by clicking the “Play” button.

Launch Genshin Impact on the Steam Deck

57. With the Genshin Impact launcher now running, click the “Launch” button to start the game.

Hit play now to launch the game

58. Of course, to be able to play Genshin Impact on your Steam Deck, you will be required to log in to your Hoyoverse account.

Login to your hoyoverse account

59. Next, you will also be required to select the server that you want to play on. Select the region closest to where you live.

Select region

60. At this point, you should hopefully have Genshin Impact running on your device.

Genshin Impact running on the Steam Deck


Hopefully, at this stage, you will now have Genshin Impact installed on your Steam Deck and can now play it.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any issues with getting this game to run on your device.

If you found this tutorial helpful, be sure to check out our many other Steam Deck guides.

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