How to install and use VLC on the Steam Deck

In this quick guide, we will show you how to install and use the popular VLC media player on the Steam Deck.

Steam Deck VLC

VLC is a fantastic video player known for its ability to play almost any media file with little to no issues.

While there are more full featured media players you can use, VLC is a fantastic choice if you only want to play a video file every now and then on your Steam Deck.

If want a video player with more features, such as a media library, check out Plex. The downside of Plex is that it uses a server-client architecture.

Installing this video player is easy as it is available through the Discover store. Discover is a desktop application that gives you quick and easy access to numerous applications.

Quick Steps to Installing VLC on to your Steam Deck

Over the following sections, we will walk you through installing a video player on your Steam Deck.

We will focus on the VLC media player, as it is easy to install, boasts great compatibility, and runs well on devices like the Deck.

Swapping to Desktop Mode

1. To install software that isn’t available through the Steam store itself, we will need to swap to desktop mode.

Desktop mode gives us full access to the underlying operating system. To access desktop mode, open the STEAM menu by tapping in the bottom-left corner or pressing the STEAM button on your deck.

Open the Steam menu

2. Once the STEAM MENU is open, click the “Power” option.

Open power options

3. Now, to change out of gaming mode, click the “Switch to Desktop” option.

Switch to desktop mode

Installing VLC to your Steam Deck

4. Now that we are in desktop mode, we can install the VLC video player on your Steam Deck.

To make this easy, we will use “Discover” application. You can open this application by clicking the little shopping bag icon in the taskbar.

Open the discover app

5. After opening the Discover store, change to the search screen by clickingSearch“.

Open search in Discover

6. Use the search box at the top of this screen to look for “vlc” (1.). Press the X button on your Steam Deck to open the virtual keyboard.

You should eventually see an entry named “VLC” (2.), click this entry to open it.

Search for VLC on the Steam Deck

7. Now that we are on the Discover page for VLC, install this video player on your Steam Deck by clicking the “Install” button.

Install VLC to the Steam Deck

8. Once the Discover application has finished installing to your Steam Deck, you can launch it by clicking the “Launch” button.

Launch VLC in Desktop Mode

9. Below, you can see that we now have the VLC media player running on our Steam Deck. We can now use this to play any videos that we have stored on our device.

VLC Running in desktop mode on the Steam Deck

Adding VLC to your Steam Deck Library

10. Of course, not everyone wants to change to desktop mode to play videos. Over the next couple of sections, we will show you how to access VLC through gaming mode on your Steam Deck.

Your first step is to launch the desktop Steam client by double-clicking the “Steam” icon.

Open the Steam desktop client

11. Now that the Steam client is open, click the “Add a Game” button in the bottom left corner (1.).

Next, you will want to click the “Add a Non-Steam Game...” option (2.).

Add a non-steam game

12. By adding VLC as a non-Steam game on your Steam Deck it will be accessible in gaming mode. Within this list find the application labeled “VLC media player” and tick the checkbox next to it (1.).

Once you have VLC selected, click the “Add Selected Programs” button (2.).

Add VLC to the Steam Deck Library

Return to Gaming Mode

13. You can now return to the gaming mode by double-clicking the “Return to Gaming Mode” icon on the desktop.

Selecting this option will automatically close any running application.

Return to gaming mode

Launching VLC on your Steam Deck

14. Now that you are back in gaming mode, let us show you where to find and launch VLC on your Steam Deck.

Your first step is to change to your “Library“.

Open your Steam library

15. Once in your library, change to the “NON-STEAM” tab (1.).

After changing to this tab, you will want to open the entry labeled “VLC media player” (2.).

Find VLC in the Steam Deck Library

16. Now, to launch the media player, you just need to click the “Play” button.

Open VLC in gaming mode

17. You should now have the VLC media player running on your Steam Deck.

The only downside of using this video player is that you must browse to each videoyou want to play. It doesn’t feature a fancy library like other solutions such as Plex or Kodi.

VLC running in gaming mode on the Steam Deck


At this point, you should have the VLC media player running on your Steam Deck. You can use this video player from both the desktop and gaming interfaces.

VLC is a great video player thanks to its wide-ranging compatibility. It can play almost any video file that you try to throw at it.

Please post a comment below if you need any help with getting this video player to run on your Deck.

If you liked following this guide, check out our many other Steam Deck tutorials.

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