Step aside Switch – you may finally have a real contender to compete with! Yesterday, Valve announced the Steam Deck – a portable handheld gaming ‘PC’ that immediately gives you access to your entire Steam library. And from what was revealed (you can check out the full site here) – it looks to be quite an impressive system…
The Steam Deck will feature a custom Zen 2 + RDNA 2 APU, “optimized for handheld gaming”. It will launch with three internal storage options: 64GB, 256GB or 512GB, priced at $399, $529 and $649 respectively. There is also a micro SD slot too. And although there will supposedly be “no in-game difference in frame rates or graphics quality between the three models” – the two pricier versions include NVMe SSDs, (compared to the 64GB’s eMMC internal storage). The handheld device will purportedly run the latest AAA games “really well” and the 40Wh battery will provide 7-8 hours when engaged in ‘lighter use’.
It’s a handlheld gaming device that can also connect to your TV… now, where have I heard that one before?
Steam Deck does what Nintendon’t?
Right off the bat, it seems to be doing its best to show you that it can do all that Nintendo handheld can (and maybe even a little more). In terms of looks – it kind of reminds me of a slightly slimmer version of the Wii U gamepad. And as you can see from the picture above, it features a host of gamepad controls including thumbsticks, triggers, rear-mounted grip buttons, trackpads and even an internal gyroscope. There’s also a 7″ optically bonded LCD touch screen – offering a resolution of 1280 x 800px at a 16:10 aspect ratio. And yes – there will be a specific dock (sold separately) to connect it to your tv too!
However, it also goes a little further – according to the website the Steam Deck “is a PC” meaning you can “install and use PC software… browse the web, watch streaming video, do your normal productivity stuff and even install some other game stores too”. Plus, it’s also Bluetooth-ready and is USB-C compatible, meaning everything from Bluetooth headphones, mouse and keyboards and even your special arcade fighting stick controllers can all just ‘connect’.
Valve describes Steam Deck as “The most gaming power you have ever held”
Unfortunately, while it is due to launch in December this year, so far only the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom have been confirmed with other regions to be added next year. So we may have to wait a little while longer to try it out. I for one am rather keen to see exactly how it performs and barring the vague battery life figures it all seems rather encouraging – and with the base 64GB model coming at just $50 more than the Switch OLED – it will be interesting to see how it plays out with consumers.