Effortless Gaming: Syncing Steam Deck Controls with Nintendo Switch Layout

A Steam Deck console is sitting on a table, in the style of tilt-shift photography, neogeo, back button focus, hd mod, warmcore, spot metering, low-angle

As a busy 40-year-old with a full-time job, a wife, two kids, and limited gaming time, finding moments to indulge in gaming can be a challenge. Often, my children beat me to the TV, leaving me seeking alternative ways to play. Enter the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck—my saviors for on-the-go gaming, ensuring I don’t rely on the television to get my gaming fix. While I adore my PS5, portable gaming options for it are still lacking.

Switching between consoles, however, presents a hiccup: adjusting to varying controller schemes. Recently, while transitioning from playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to a game from a Fanatical Games bundle on the Steam Deck, I found myself struggling to adapt to the new controller scheme. That’s when I discovered a simple solution to align the Steam Deck’s controls with the familiar Nintendo Switch layout.

Here’s how to effortlessly synchronize the Steam Deck’s controller scheme with that of the Nintendo Switch:

Press the Steam button on the Steam Deck to access the main menu.

A Steam Deck emphasizing the Steam Button

Navigate to “Settings” within the menu.

A screenshot of the Steam Deck Main Menu with the settings options highlighted.

Select “Controller” from the options on the left-hand navigation pane

The Steam Deck Settings menu with the  Controller option highlighted.

Toggle on the “Use Nintendo Button Layout” option.

The Steam Deck settings menu with the Nintendo Button Layout option highlited.

It’s that straightforward. While I anticipate switching back to the default controller scheme when I start playing Spiderman 2, for now, this adjustment allows me to maintain my gaming flow without losing my sanity.

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