Valve announces portable PC gaming device called Steam Deck

    
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If you’ve ever wanted a device that smooshes your PC games with something cute and portable like a Switch, welp, Valve has your toy. It’s just unveiled the long-rumored Steam Deck, a slightly-larger-and-much-more-powerful-than-the-Switch device using a version of SteamOS that will run all your Steam games, though according to IGN, it’ll also run your non-Steam games and launchers too. It features a pair of capacitive joysticks and a mouse-esque trackpad, bluetooth support, USB plugins, mod support, and a battery life of between 2 to 8 hours, depending on what you’re actually playing.

Valve says it starts shipping this December, and it’s already taking reservations already for those of you with $399 (64GB), $529 (256GB), or $649 (512GB) to drop. There’s no price on a dock yet, and it’s not included.

“We look at this as just a new category of device in the PC space,” Valve’s Greg Coomer says. “And assuming that customers agree with us that this is a good idea, we expect not only to follow up in the future with more iterations ourselves, but also for other people, other manufacturers to want to participate in the space.”

Source: Steam Deck, IGN
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Sykes

Looks awesome so far. Will do some gamepad testing later, but this could be the first device to give me full MMO control, and with support for DDO and SWTOR through Proton. My plan for button mapping is below – let me know what you’d change, if anything!

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MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Blech. Looks like my old SEGA Gamegear that I got angry with and used a sharp object or 3 to stab the screen with when I was raging as a kid. Also, no thanks for Steam platform. Double yuck.

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John Kiser

Valve really needs to talk to a UX developer when doing layout for controls etc. This is a nice idea, but horrible controls.

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Nemui Byakko

But devices of such kind – small handheld PCs for gaming – alredy exist, they are already not in the first generation, well tested, work good and may be used not just for games :)
For example – gpd Win 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jtos2G44gTQ (there are a lot of reviews in youtube etc.)…

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John Kiser

You can use this for stuff other than games. It has SteamOS on it and you can install Windows on it as well…. SteamOS is a full Debian Linux with a skin on top of it.

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Nemui Byakko

gpd win 2 is usual pc with windows, you can install there linux or any other os you can install on pc ) And it has a keyboard )

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Godnaz

Excellent piece of hardware if true. Count me in.

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Sarah Cushaway

I may eventually grab this for my daughter. There’s a lot of games she’d probably like that are on Steam but not on her Switch/Nintendo E-Store, and the Switch is pretty underwhelming in terms of power.

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John Mclain

It’s an interesting idea. Though I do wonder how many games will run well on it given the modestly low specs it has. It has the ram and ssd, but the CPU is fairly weak and old, and the GPU power seems “meh” at best. Sure it’s 20x more powerful than the switch, but the switch has games made to work within those limits.

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Nightmarian

The CPU is brand new and uses the same current-gen architecture found in both the PS5 and XSX. It IS less powerful, but around that of the PS4, which, remember still ran many beautiful games quite well. However, that comparison is imperfect, because despite having the same power as previous gen, it has far newer architecture with features like FSR, uses modern storage drives, something old consoles suffered terribly from, and runs a smaller resolution which will take the power even further.

It won’t beat a top end gaming PC, but it’ll be a fantastic entry point for console players who want a similar experience on PC. As a handheld device accompanying a main desktop PC, it’ll run anything but the most graphically intense AAA games really well, which is a huge catalog of games, and will grant you access to any game store or streaming service. Even those heavy AAA games seem to run fine–Fallen Order isn’t the easiest game to run and they were running it on high on what people were saying was a solid 30 FPS, which is nothing to snuff at.

“The Switch has been made to work within those limits” is literally what the Steam Deck is about, but you’ll have far more control than Switch ever allowed as well as the option to let the community tweak games (reverse graphic mods) to run better as a choice, much like how developers such as CDPR had to downgrade their AAA games to run on Switch. Hopefully many developers will include native support for button configs and optimal graphic settings themselves, as like consoles the performance isn’t variable, so they know exactly what to tweak for.

That all goes without pointing things out like the emulation scene. People have been paying 700+ for chinese handhelds that don’t run anywhere near as good as this.

Your statement really only serves to highlight your ignorance.

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John Mclain

Oh boy… you just wrote a whole lot of ignorance of your own there. I know the prevailing knowledge is not to argue with fools as they have the experience but… It uses a 3 year old Zen2 cpu that is below the recommended specs for a great number of modern AA games for a lower resolution than this system’s display. Granted if this is running at a vomit inducing fps cap of 30 fps… then yeah. I suppose it will technically “run” the games.

Despite your previously ignorant statement being all shades of wrong. I will admit your right that this could be wildly popular for emulation since its far more powerful than whats needed to emulate older games, and can likely emulate all the way upto Ps2/Wii/Xbox games quite effectively.

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Nightmarian

Go to a mirror and read your entire statement out loud, then maybe go look up the spec sheets. It is modern architecture same as current gen. A few outlets had reported this incorrectly but most haven’t.

Secondly, you seem to be missing the entire point of the Deck. Most Switch games run 30 fps steady if even on poorer looking games, yet is about to overtake ps2 as console with most sales ever.

This is far more than about raw power, and running a demanding aaa game on high with solid 30 fps is damn impressive. That’s not anywhere near common the type of game, most games will hit 60 fps, and there is room for tweaks.

Your elitist comment about the fps thing just proves my suspicions about your ignorance, though. You just don’t get it and that’s fine; this wasn’t made for people like you in mind. Stick to your wasted 3090 you bought at scalper prices because da power ZZZ.

Anyway, we do agree about not arguing with fools so I’ll leave you to deal with your triggered emotions on your own. Thanks for the constructive and not at all cringe inducing reply, though… No worries, most people mature eventually.

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John Kiser

You say write a whole lot of ignorance and then say “vomit inducing 30 FPS…” kind of dense.

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Ben Stone

Seems like a good way for me to get through my Steam library. Only really get to play single player games while travelling – so mostly Switch games, as I tend to gravitate towards MMOs when I am sat at home in front of the PC.

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Rndomuser

A waste since this exists:
https://www.razer.com/mobile-controllers/Razer-Kishi/RZ06-02900100-R3U1

You can play games using your smarphone and this controller through Steam Link, or Geforce Now. Or load up your favorite SNES ROM’s on your phone and use that controller same way you used SNES controller. It’s more portable and less expensive.

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Krzysztof Czajka

What does steam link has to do with it? And why are you mentioning geforce now that has not even half of the popular games on Steam, is hidden behind subscription and is basically a crap.

It’s like saying you don’t need a console because you can buy a PC lmao

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Rndomuser

What does steam link has to do with it?

Everything. You can use Steam Link app to stream any game from your Steam library to your smartphone, doesn’t matter if you are on Wi-Fi or on cellular connection. I have played Darkest Dungeon on my phone by streaming it from PC over LTE, it worked perfectly. It also provides better resolution than Steam Deck and you do not sacrifice visual quality of any game as long as you play with good connection quality.

So unless the person is located somewhere where there is no Wi-Fi and no good cellular connection – using smartphone with something like Razer’s controller and apps like Steam Link or Geforce Now (for people who prefer not to buy games on Steam if they are available elsewhere, like me) is better than buying Steam Deck with its 720p display which is not even OLED and which has brightness which goes only to 400 nits. Especially for people who want to play multiplayer games, where internet connection is a requirement.

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Nightmarian

For starters, Steam Link and streaming in general is an imperfect solution with many, many problems that have been well-discussed. Stadia ran into all of them and they’re some of the major reasons why it stumbled (among many others). Having a good streaming experience is also depends on having solid internet or celluar, not something everyone has all the time–the ability to play natively is alone a huge perk because for a lot of people streaming just isn’t a viable option whether due to data costs or performance or something else like latency or availability.

Phone emulation is also really limited compared to PC in terms of power, like with PS2 for example, while Steam Deck should be able to run PS2 just fine based on performance for other worse apus.

Android also has its own share of problems and quirks when it comes to being used as a front end. It’s all subjective of course, but the demand for dedicated non-android gaming handhelds is high–many chinese companies make a killing selling emulation devices and a few have proven there is interest in portable PCs, despite phones existing.

When it comes down to it, a phone is really still just a phone, and even with something like the Kishi, doesn’t make for the best gaming package. It would be good for the casual gamer, but something like deck is aimed for enthusiasts.

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John Mclain

Thats not even close to the same thing. Your comparing apples to alien planets. Your suggestion isn’t mobile, steam link only works within a short range of a high end PC with high end wireless connection. So not mobile. And Geforce Now is the same way, you need a high end connection a phone cant do.

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bobfish

I think there are two things I’d need to know before buying one of these:

1. How it’s specs actually stack up against PC and Gen5 consoles for most games. Just because it can run something, doesn’t mean its going to run it well.

2. Does Proton actually work, and if so, does it work on enough games? This is going to be running SteamOS, so for games that don’t have a native Linux version you will need to run them through Proton, which, in the past, has been hit and miss.

Cepiel
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Cepiel

I think IGN mentioned it being as powerful as a PS4/Xbox One

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Greaterdivinity

https://www.steamdeck.com/en/tech

Full tech specs here. It’s surprisingly beefy, but it’s not gonna go head to head with consoles. Smaller form factor, running off a battery (undocked) mean it can’t give the hardware a ton of juice and needs to stay cool somehow. I’m surprised at the CPU clock speed, it’s much higher than I would have thought for a handheld.

But we’ll have to see it in action, TFlops and Gflops only matter so much. Also it apparently supports ray tracing which is wild to me.

As for your second question…no idea.

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Nightmarian

It’s way more powerful than the Switch and about the same as PS4, but only graphically (new architecture, smaller screen to run, stuff like FSR available, modern storage drives) speaking, so it’ll actually be more powerful than a PS4/Xbox one.

As far as Proton goes, Valve said the public version isn’t what they’re using for Steam OS 3.0 and isn’t a good comparison, and already mentioned they’re at near perfect compatibility. They’re aiming for 100% by launch.

Since this is a custom-tuned package, it’s going to very likely be different than some random joe using linux+proton, and that’s exactly what Valve seemed to imply.