How to Record Your Screen on The Steam Deck Without a Capture Card

The Steam Deck is a great way to get your feet wet with the world of online gaming. It’s a great platform for new players to learn the ropes and get a feel for what online gaming is all about. However, most people are not sure about the recording and streaming capability of the Steam Deck.

Since the Steam Deck runs on Linux OS, you can record your gameplay the same you would on your Linux PC, by using dedicated streaming or screen-capturing software. This is a great alternative to expensive external capture cards. If you want to record your screen on The Steam Deck without a capture card, there are a few things you need to do.

Screen Record Without a Capture Card in Desktop Mode

Let’s go through the steps to screen record in desktop mode.

  1. Power on your Steam Deck device.
  2. Hold down the power button to launch the desktop mode.
  3. Run your browser.
  4. Bring out the digital keyboard by pressing Steam X.
  5. Search for OBS.
  6. Click on the first link that comes on the result.
  7. Select the “Linux” option, as the Steam Deck is based on Linux.
  8. Download and Install the software.
  9. Launch OBS after the installation has been completed.
  10.  Set up the initial preferences, which should pop up on your screen when you launch the app for the first time.

Setting up OBS

Now, let’s set up your OBS studio.

  1. Now, to add a source for the display, click on the plus button in the “display source” section.
  2. Select the “Screen Capture” option.
  3. Repeat the process and add an audio output that will allow you to hear your in-game sounds.
  4. The Steam Deck also has an in-built microphone if you want to record your commentary as well.


Now, for the final part. Let’s say you want to record and play Minecraft:

  1. Click on the Steam logo on the right-hand side of the taskbar.
  2. Select “Minecraft” from the list of games.
  3. Minimize the game and go to OBS.
  4. Select the “Start recording” option on the right-hand side of the screen.

All of this is only possible in Desktop mode, which is not a bad thing, but if you want that extra bit of performance, you can try this next method.

Screen Record in Gaming Mode

The Gaming mode performs a bit better during intensive and demanding gameplay sessions compared to the Desktop mode. Hence, most serious gamers would opt to play in the gaming mode rather than the desktop mode. Let’s go over how you can record your screen on the Steam Deck without a capture card in Gaming mode.

  1. First off, click the Steam button while in Gaming mode.
  2. Then, go to settings.
  3. Go to System.
  4. Scroll down and toggle on developer mode.
  5. After the developer mode has been turned on, scroll down all the way to “Developer” on the left-hand side menu.
  6. Turn on the CEF Remote Debugging option.
  7. A prompt will appear telling you to restart your device; select the Later option.
  8. Now, switch to Desktop mode.
  9. Go to Discover.
  10. Search for Crankshaft and install the app.
  11. Launch the Crankshaft app after the installation has been completed.
  12. Now, return back to Gaming mode.
  13. Push the Steam Button.
  14. Select the “Get Plugins” option.
  15. Scroll down till you see “Recapture.”
  16. Install Recapture.
  17. Push the right shortcut key, and you should see an extra settings section at the bottom.
  18. So, whenever you want to record gameplay, you can go there and select the “start recording” option.

If the said extra settings section does not show up on your device, push the Steam button, go to Crankshaft settings and select the “reload steam” option. This should be able to resolve the problem. As for the output video, the resolution will be the same as the Steam Deck.

One of the main benefits of being able to screen record and play in Gaming Mode is the lack of performance dips. Many gamers have complained that there is a visible performance dip or frame rate fluctuation when they are playing a game and recording using the OBS studio app while in Desktop mode. But in Gaming mode with the above-mentioned method, you will likely not face these issues, your gameplay will be smooth as ever.

Pros and Cons

There are several reasons why you might want to avoid using a capture card to record your gameplay sessions. For one, capture cards can be expensive, and you may not need all of the features that they offer. Additionally, capture cards can introduce input lag, which can be a problem if you’re trying to record fast-paced gameplay. Finally, capture cards can be temperamental, and may not work with every game or every setup.

If you’re on a budget, or if you don’t need the features offered by a capture card, you can use software to record your gameplay. This has the added benefit of being more flexible, as you can use different software for different games or different purposes. Additionally, you can use software to record gameplay from multiple sources, such as your webcam and your microphone, which can be helpful if you’re trying to create a let’s play video.

There are a few downsides to using software to record gameplay, however. One is that you’ll need a powerful computer in order to record gameplay at a high quality. Additionally, you may need to tweak your settings in order to get the best results, and you may need to experiment with different software in order to find what works best for you. Finally, you may need to pay for premium features in some software, such as the ability to record in high definition.

So, there are both benefits and drawbacks to using a capture card or software to record your gameplay. It’s important to weigh your options and decide what’s best for you, based on your needs and your budget.

In conclusion, you can simply use software like OBS to record and stream your gameplay without having to spend money on high-tech and expensive capture cards.