Do you have a Steam Deck? Do you own Minecraft? Do you want to play said game on said device? Well follow our guide and now you can!
This guide will get you running on the latest version of Minecraft Java Edition, complete with working controls for your Steam Deck.
The first thing you need to do is switch over to Desktop mode. Here, you'll want to boot up the "Discover" store and search for "Prism Launcher", this is an application that handles installing Minecraft for you, and it's a really handy tool. So go ahead and install it.
After Prism has been installed, go ahead and launch it (It'll be under "Games" in your applications/start menu).
Once Prism has booted, click on the "Add Instance" button at the top right, at this point, you'll be asked what version of Minecraft you want to install, and any mod launchers you want as well. This guide is just dealing with the latest Vanilla version, so select that for now for click on "OK".
You'll be taken back to the main Prism screen, select the instance you just added, and hit the "Launch" button on the right-hand side. At this point, you will be asked to add your Microsoft account to the launcher so it can verify that you own the game. Select "Yes" to open the Account Manager, and click on "Add Microsoft" at the top right, then follow the steps it gives you. After completing the sign-in process, you can close the account manager, and Minecraft should install and boot.
We haven't got the game fully configured yet, so exit the game once you reach the main menu.
Click the "Settings" button in Prism Launcher and navigate to "Minecraft", make sure the "Start Minecraft Maximized" is ticked.
Back on the main screen of Prism, go over to the right side, click on the "Create Shortcut" button, and put a shortcut to the instance on your desktop. Once the shortcut has been created on your desktop, right-click it and click on "Add To Steam".
Unfortunately, this just gets added to Steam as whatever version that you installed, which in our case is "1.20.2". So go into Steam and rename the game as "Minecraft" in the game properties.
We're done in Desktop mode and almost ready to start playing, so return your Steam Deck back to Gaming Mode to finish the setup.
Now we're in Gaming Mode, navigate over to your "Non-Steam" tab in your library and click on the Minecraft shortcut you made. Click on the controller icon to open Steam Input, click on your layout to open up the layout finder, then go to the "Community Layouts" tab and find "Minecraft (SDHQ Recommended)", this is a controller layout we've made to aid Steam Deck users. Download and apply it.
Now you've done all that, head back to your library and boot the game via the shortcut, it should boot you up into the main menu and your Steam Deck controls should now work just fine to navigate the menus and play the game! You can press the left touchpad to open up chat and the on-screen keyboard. We've tried to keep the controls somewhat similar to the Xbox console control layout so it's familiar to people. Overall I found the experience very playable!
We're always looking for ways to improve things for handheld users, so if we find better ways of doing this or a better control scheme, we'll let you know! For now, though, we had great success using this method and we can confirm that you can connect to multiplayer vanilla servers just fine. We didn't try modded servers, but we imagine with some tweaks in the Prism Launcher, you could play on those too.
We hope you found this guide helpful, if you're stuck at any part or think that this guide could be improved, feel free to leave a comment and we'll try and help you out!
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