In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Moonlight on your Steam Deck.
Moonlight is an open-source implementation of the NVIDIA Gamestream protocol. This protocol lets you stream games from any PC to any device running the Moonlight client.
One of these devices that Moonlight supports happens to be the Steam Deck. One advantage of Moonlight over Steam’s remote play functionality is that it can support HDR and sometimes offer improved latency.
Thanks to Sunshine, you don’t need to own an NVIDIA GPU to use Gamestream to stream games to your Steam Deck. Sunshine is an open-source implementation of the game streaming protocol that can run on any GPU.
By the end of this tutorial, you will have Moonlight running on your Deck and be able to stream games from any device running the Sunshine server.
Before proceeding with this guide, you must have installed and set up Sunshine on the device you want to stream games from. It is a fairly simple software to get working but you will need to manually add the games you want to stream using it.
Setting up Moonlight on the Steam Deck
Over these steps, we will show you how to set up the Moonlight streaming client on your Steam Deck.
The only real thing you need for all of this to work is to have a remote device where you have set up the Sunshine server.
Changing to Desktop Mode
1. To install Moonlight on your Steam Deck, you must change to desktop mode. The reason for this is that Moonlight itself is not available through Steam.
To get to desktop mode, bring up the STEAM menu by pressing the STEAM button or tapping “
STEAM menu” in the bottom-left corner of your screen.
2. Now that the STEAM menu is open, select the “
Power” option to bring up the power menu.
3. Within the power menu, you will want to select the “
Switch to Desktop” option.
Installing Moonlight to the Steam Deck
4. As we are now in desktop mode you must open the Discover application. This application makes installing Moonlight to your Steam Deck a very simple process.
You can open this application by clicking the little shopping bag icon in the taskbar.
5. Now that the Discover application is open, use the search box in the top-left corner to search for “
You can bring up the keyboard while in Steam Deck’s desktop mode by pressing the STEAM and X buttons at the same time.
6. You should now see Moonlight listed as an option.
Install Moonlight to your Steam Deck by clicking the “
Adding Moonlight as a Non-Steam Game
7. With Moonlight installed on your Steam Deck, you will want to add it to your Steam library. Adding the client as a non-steam game will allow you to access it in the Decks gaming mode.
To do this, you will need to open the Steam desktop client. The desktop client can be opened by double clicking the “
Steam” icon on the desktop.
8. With Steam open, click the “
Add a Game” button (1.) in the bottom-left corner of the client.
Next, click the “
Add a Non-Steam Game...” option.
9. With the “
Add a Non-Steam Game” screen open, scroll down till you find “
Moonlight” (1.) and tick the checkbox next to it.
Once Moonlight is selected, click the “
Add Selected Programs” button (2.) to add the client to your Steam Deck library.
Launching Moonlight in Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode
10. You will now want to try out Moonlight on your Steam Deck and pair it with the computer you plan on streaming games from.
Before proceeding, ensure that you have Sunshine installed on your PC.
11. Next, with the Steam client open, use the search box to look for “
moonlight” (1.) in your Steam Library.
Once found, click the “
Moonlight” option (2.) to bring up its Steam library entry.
12. You can launch the Moonlight client on your Steam Deck while in desktop mode by clicking the “
Configuring Moonlight to Pair with Your PC
13. You should now have Moonlight running on your Steam Deck. When the client runs, it will try to identify any available servers it can stream games (1.).
If your Sunshine server doesn’t appear, you may need to manually add it by clicking the little screen icon (2.) in the top-right corner of the client.
Once you have a Sunshine client you want to stream from, click it to continue.
14. Once you have selected a computer for Moonlight to stream games from, you will be asked to enter a PIN code.
This PIN code is used to pair your Steam Deck to the Sunshine server. Without this you won’t be able to stream games.
15. In Sunshine’s web interface, you will want to open up the “
PIN Pairing” screen.
On this screen, type in the PIN that the Moonlight client generated on your Steam Deck (1.).
Once entered, you only need to click the “
Send” button to confirm the pairing (2.).
16. Back on your Steam Deck, you will now see that the lock icon has disappeared from the PC that you paired.
17. We haven’t configured Sunshine much on our PC, so all we can see currently are the two default options and the “
Vampire Survivors” game that we configured.
Returning to Gaming Mode
18. Now that you know Moonlight works on your Steam Deck, you will want to return to gaming mode.
Returning to gaming mode is as simple as double-clicking the “
Return to Gaming Mode” icon on the desktop.
Testing out Moonlight on the Steam Deck
19. Back in gaming mode, you must change to your Steam Deck library by selecting “
Library” in the STEAM menu.
20. Next, change to the “
NON-STEAM” library (1.).
Once in this part of your Steam Deck library, select the “
Moonlight” entry (2.).
21. Now, to launch Moonlight on your Steam Deck, all you need to do is click the “
22. You can now select the PC you want to stream from and choose the game you wish to stream using Moonlight to your Steam Deck.
Moonlight even lets you stream your entire desktop.
23. Below, you can see how we use Moonlight to stream Vampire Survivor to our Steam Deck.
If you find your controls aren’t working, then ensure you are using the installed version of Sunshine on your PC and have restarted your device.
Hopefully, you will have Moonlight running on your Steam Deck with it successfully paired with a Sunshine streaming server.
Moonlight lets you use NVIDIA’s Gamestream protocol to stream games to your devices. While NVIDIA has abandoned official support for this, an open-source implementation called Sunshine works perfectly.
Please feel free to comment below if you have any issues with getting Moonlight to stream to your device.
If you found this tutorial helpful, be sure to check out our many other Steam Deck tutorials.