Setting Up Playback and Your Operator Device on Steam Deck: A Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on setting up your Steam Deck for the ultimate retro gaming experience with the Playback app and the Operator device. This tutorial is designed to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring a seamless setup, whether you're a new Steam Deck owner or looking to integrate your Operator device, this guide has you covered.

If you've already configured your Steam Deck, you can jump straight to the next section to set up the Playback app and connect your Operator device.


Setting Up Your Steam Deck

Getting your Steam Deck ready is the first step towards enjoying your retro gaming adventures. Here's how to set it up:

  1. Power On: Hold the power button to turn on your Steam Deck.
  2. Select Language: Choose your preferred language from the options provided.
  3. Choose Timezone: Select your timezone to ensure accurate timing for game releases and updates.
  4. Connect to Wi-Fi: Log onto a Wi-Fi network to connect your Steam Deck to the internet.
  5. Install Necessary Files: Wait for Steam to automatically install all the necessary files. If the installer stalls, you might need to restart the process from step 1.
  6. Log Into Your Steam Account: Enter your Steam account details. If you don't have an account, you'll need to create one.
  7. Install Latest Update: The Steam Deck will check for and install the latest system update to ensure you have the latest features and security improvements.

Installing the Playback App and Setting Up Your Operator Device

With your Steam Deck ready, it's time to install the Playback app and get your Operator device up and running. For typing during this setup, you can utilize the virtual keyboard by pressing the Steam + X buttons simultaneously. Alternatively, connecting a physical keyboard to your Steam Deck is also an option.

First, we'll need to go to Desktop Mode: Long press the power button on your Steam Deck and select "Switch to Desktop".

Screenshot_20240213_153455.pngInstalling the Playback App

  1. Access a Web Browser: Open Firefox or your preferred web browser. Firefox is pre-installed on the Steam Deck.Screenshot_20240213_153653.png
  2. Go to Epilogue Downloads: Visit to find the Playback app.
  3. Linux Download: Select the “Download for Linux” button to download the Playback AppImage, which will be saved to your Downloads folder by default.Screenshot_20240213_153720.png
  4. Making the App Executable:
  5. Tap and hold the app icon to enter selection mode. Tap “More” at the bottom right corner, then select “Properties.” If using a mouse, right-click Playback.AppImage the icon and choose “Properties.”
  6. Screenshot_20240213_153902.png
    In “Properties,” navigate to “Permissions” and ensure “Is executable” is enabled.
    Confirm by tapping or clicking “OK.”

Granting Permissions


When opening the Playback app, you might find that even though the Operator device is connected, the app cannot locate it. This issue arises because SteamOS requires specific permissions to recognize and communicate with the Operator device. Here's how to fix this:


  1. Open the terminal: Access it by tapping the Steam Deck icon on the toolbar and selecting System > Konsole, or type "Konsole" in the search bar.
  2. Setting Up a Password: You will be asked for a password when running a command in the nest step. If you have already set a password previously, you can head to step 3. If not, type passwd in the console. You'll be prompted to enter and confirm a new password. Make sure to remember it.
  3. Granting Necessary Permissions: Now that you have a password, you're ready to grant the necessary permissions. Type sudo usermod -a -G uucp deck in the console and press Enter. This command adjusts the user permissions, allowing SteamOS to interact with the Operator device.Screenshot_20240213_155048.png
  4. Reboot Your Steam Deck: Enter sudo reboot in the console and press Enter to reboot your device. This step ensures all changes are applied.

After rebooting, long-press the power button and select "Switch to Desktop". With the permissions now set, the Playback app will successfully recognize your connected Operator device.Screenshot_20240213_163345.png

In Desktop mode, the Steam Deck's buttons have predefined actions (e.g., the B button closes windows). To utilize the buttons effectively with the Playback app, switch the console to Gamepad mode by long-pressing the menu/start button (☰).

You have successfully configured your Steam Deck to work with the Playback app and your Operator device. Enjoy exploring your favorite retro games with your new setup.

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