While the consoles have no or limited support for Discord, Valve’s handheld Steam Deck PC has a full version of the app. This enables you to join the same voice channels and text chats that 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.

This works with Discord as well as music or podcasting apps. So far, I’ve tested out Discord, Spotify, and a YouTube Music player in the background while playing Elden Ring. Both programs ran simultaneously without issue. A lot of that comes down to the optimizations that Valve has made to its SteamOS environment.

Here’s how to run Discord or other apps in the background while you game:

  1. Hold the power button down until the menu pops up. Select “Switch to desktop.”
  2. In desktop mode, click the Discover store icon on the taskbar.
  3. Search for Discord, Spotify, and/or whatever other app you want to run on SteamOS (download “core keyboard” under the accessibility tab if you need a virtual keyboard).
  4. Install the programs.
  5. Find them in start menu, and then log in while in desktop mode.
  6. Open Steam, click the “+” button on the bottom left, and select “add non-steam game.”
  7. Select Discord and the other apps and add them.

Now, switch back to gaming mode and navigate to the non-steam tab in your library. You can open up Discord or Spotify, and 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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