What's new

Valve Announces Steam Deck (Handheld Gaming Computer)

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
(The first article has more information, and the second has better pics)

This is really, really interesting. If it works as promised, it could be legit competition for the Switch, being more flexible, more powerful, with a bigger library of games and publishers, and having better controls.
  • Two thumbsticks
  • D-pad
  • 8 triggers (on the back and shoulders)
  • Touchscreen
  • Two trackpads
  • Microphones
  • Speaker
  • Headphone jack
  • Bluetooth audio
  • MicroSD for additional storage
The dock (sold separately) has:
  • Two USB 3
  • One USB 2
  • HDMI
  • DisplayPort
  • Ethernet
It’s an open system and even though it ships with SteamOS by default, you could technically install whatever you want on it.

Seems like a really great idea and I’m curious to know what you guys think. They’re $399 and I would definitely pick one up to get some gaming in on the go.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
I think it's another Steam box that nobody will buy.
The at-home console space is already heavily dominated by the traditional devs, but the handheld space is wide open. The only real competition in that area is PS Vita (old), Switch (limited, with much less games and options, and very minimal/drifty controls), and mobile (less powerful, can only run mobile games, and very suboptimal controls).

I think this is an entirely different story altogether.
 

Gooberking

FGC Cannon Fodder
Looks... Substantial.

Good luck. I don't hate the idea but seems like it could be a hard sell if it doesn't just work, which without Windows is hard to see.

A potable for adult geeks maybe. I'm probably not a good judge of the market given my Switch is just there to collect dust.

Steam does have just about everything I've been tempted to buy for the Switch and it might be more attractive if I wasn't choosing between a version for a console I could lose or drop at any time and one I could just play on my laptop or other PC's.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
Looks... Substantial.

Good luck. I don't hate the idea but seems like it could be a hard sell if it doesn't just work, which without Windows is hard to see.
It’s an open system, so you could definitely install Windows or whatever other OS you want.

Not to say that that guarantees it’ll be successful, but the OS isn’t really a barrier here.

I think the biggest questions would be whether it’s ergonomic, and what the ceiling is as far as pushing newer games with this processing power. But technically you could run whatever you want on it.

Edit: Apparently the GPU power is around that of a PS4, or slight more powerful, with a faster CPU. So on a 7-inch screen at 720p that should theoretically be able to run a lot of newer titles.
 

Gooberking

FGC Cannon Fodder
It’s an open system, so you could definitely install Windows or whatever other OS you want.

Not to say that that guarantees it’ll be successful, but the OS isn’t really a barrier here.

I think the biggest questions would be whether it’s ergonomic, and what the ceiling is as far as pushing newer games with this processing power. But technically you could run whatever you want on it.
The os would mean extra cost but the people interested are probably ok with that.

It looks heavy but maybe comfortable beyond that. I can't hand hold a Switch for more than two min and consider it mankind's most successful torture device. The bar to beat for me is pretty low on that part.
 

Revy

★ Two-Hands ★
The design of this thing kinda sucks...

Everything is too close together especially the D-pad & the XYAB buttons. Why all the touchpads? Is this made for children? Cause someone with big ol’bear hands or big sausage fingers could not use this without struggling.

I’d rather spend double & get something decent like a GPD Win 3 which has better stats, looks actually good while looking pleasing & comfortable. Has Windows, Steam & a touchscreen keyboard that pushes up like a T-Mobile Sidekick.

EDIT: Or an AYA NEO
 
Last edited:

Komatose

The Prettiest
Once I saw handheld and PC next to it, I stopped reading. No handheld will be able to deliver PC performance. Ever. And because PC gamers are used to such high quality and standards, there’s no way this will be a hit with them and console players don’t want a handheld and if we did, DS or Switch Lite will do the trick.
 
From first pictures, I thought it was a lot bigger than Switch, but their dimensions (in inches) seem to be...
11.7 x 4.6 (Steam Deck) vs 9.4 x 4.0 (Switch).

I guess I was just distracted by how awful the controls look, simply because they just had to put trackpads on there.
 
A lot of props to Valve for trying to lessen the effect scalper bots will have on their initial stock.

"during the first 48 hours of reservation availability, you need to have made a purchase on Steam prior to June 2021 in order to reserve"
 

Revy

★ Two-Hands ★
Once I saw handheld and PC next to it, I stopped reading. No handheld will be able to deliver PC performance. Ever. And because PC gamers are used to such high quality and standards, there’s no way this will be a hit with them and console players don’t want a handheld and if we did, DS or Switch Lite will do the trick.
There’s options out there to get PC-quality handhelds like the GPD Win 3 & AYA NEO but you’re looking at a $1000 AT LEAST, this $400 cheap bullshit clusterfuck isn’t it.

 
Last edited:
The 399$ price is for the 64gb storage space option, for which you better have a specific usage / types of games in mind to fit into that. I suppose you could make microSD cards work as an extra storage option for stuff that doesn't need to fetch data all the time.

It looks like a good performance core, so Valve is taking a loss on every machine. Not that money is any kind of a limit for them. Still, 'Gabe Newell Describes Steam Deck's Price As Painful For Valve'.
 
Last edited:
Given how people were actually interested in Switch Pro rumors... putting a Switch emulator on this gets you there faster.

And if nothing else, Valve has really improved Proton, the compatibility layer to run Windows games on Linux, for this project.
 

Komatose

The Prettiest
There’s options out there to get PC-quality handhelds like the GPD Win 3 & AYA NEO but you’re looking at a $1000 AT LEAST, this $400 cheap bullshit clusterfuck isn’t it.

Well yeah but for $1000 you can build your own PC, a good one at that. Why would you even WANT to take PC gaming on the go?
 

Revy

★ Two-Hands ★
Well yeah but for $1000 you can build your own PC, a good one at that. Why would you even WANT to take PC gaming on the go?
Personally, trips to the hospital. 8 hours there & back that I don’t have to drive on top of 2 hours waiting, I’d have an awesome time. I would have loved to have something like an AYA NEO or a GPD Win 3 when I had my heart surgery since I spent 7 weeks in the hospital almost 2 years ago. I could have beaten a lot of games & help with my morale in there. Also I don’t like Nintendo games that much, I rarely use my brother’s Switch.

With Steam, Xbox Play Anywhere, Epic Games Store, GoG & all the other services with 500GB or 1TB of memory (Not the crappy Steam machine), it would be a great experience especially with the dock.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
With Steam, Xbox Play Anywhere, Epic Games Store, GoG & all the other services with 500GB or 1TB of memory (Not the crappy Steam machine), it would be a great experience especially with the dock.
I mean, even if you get the 512 GB NVMe Steam Deck, it has a significantly better GPU than the Win 3 and costs less.
 

Komatose

The Prettiest
Personally, trips to the hospital. 8 hours there & back that I don’t have to drive on top of 2 hours waiting, I’d have an awesome time. I would have loved to have something like an AYA NEO or a GPD Win 3 when I had my heart surgery since I spent 7 weeks in the hospital almost 2 years ago. I could have beaten a lot of games & help with my morale in there. Also I don’t like Nintendo games that much, I rarely use my brother’s Switch.

With Steam, Xbox Play Anywhere, Epic Games Store, GoG & all the other services with 500GB or 1TB of memory (Not the crappy Steam machine), it would be a great experience especially with the dock.
I seriously doubt you would spend a G on that even if you were in the hospital for 7 weeks. That’s a one time thing for most people in their lifetime. And hopefully was a one time thing for you. There is no point in dropping a G for something you will use for one special occasion. You’d literally have to prefer and absolutely utilized handhelds for that kind of investment. Also, once you drop a G on a PC, you have to do so little maintenance and upkeep, it costs less than consoles in the long run with better performance. Plus we are talking 5+ Years of longevity without having to touch it at all. So a G for 5+ years then maybe 50 to 100 here and there for upkeep. Can you even long term modify this thing? You also even said that the controls looks awkward, so it isn’t going to feel comfortable to play on. It just seems like a bad investment for that price tag. I’m sure it’s WORTH it in material and graphics, etc. but not much else. Again, if I drop a G, I’m just going to flat out make a PC. There is no point in time in my life where a handheld is needed or am I even able to make use of it where others could. It would strictly be for the exclusives or just to fuck off on.
 

Immortal

Blind justice....
Okay, now that NDA is lifted i can write my own experience with the device.

Full disclosure:

We (our studio) were gifted with around 30+ Steam Decks and docks with top specs by Valve. I also have my personal Switch, GPD W3 and few others which i use often on the go. Having said that lets get into it.

First impressions:

The device seems bigger then it is. Like when i first got it (like 3 months ago) my first thought was - why it's so big? It isn't, that's just an illusion. Sure it's bigger then Switch but not the point where it's uncomfortable to use or transport. Overal quality is fine to good. Plastic is fine, if you ever used an elite controler this is pretty much the same. Two people at the studio dropped their units while using it and outside of some chipping and a small crack at the bottom on the second unit they're working just fine.

SteamOS is fine, thou i never was a big fan of it.... for obvious reasons the game library is pretty limited if you stick with it. Proton works fine for the most part but it has a lot of problems (performance, bugs, compatibility etc...). So the best option is to just install Windows on Deck and go from there... which i did like a week after i got it. There were no problems with drivers or Windows, everything installed fine and worked as u expect from a... PC.

With Windows i got access to my whole Steam library which is great and the best part was it - most of the game works fine to great on the device. Yes you have to do some detail reduction in very heavy games but for the most part you will get 60 fps without a problem. Worth nothing that the "mouse touch pads" not always work as they should (like a normal mouse input). The screen is bright enough to play in the sun althou if you do it for a longer period of time the device get pretty hot (not to bad but you will feel it for sure).

Dock:

We had pre-production units but they worked great in my opinion better then the Switch one. You can plug in pretty much anything you want to it, mouse, keyboard, ethernet, pads or any other usb or bluetooth device, works the same like with any PC. You can work on it without a problem with a monitor / mouse / keyboard if you want to.

Battery life:

It's better than i expected actually but it varies a lot. If you go with resource heavy game you can deplet it in 2 - 2,5h of playing time. That was the case with Mortal Kombat 11 PC version i tested. However if you play something like Portal 2, you can easily go past 4 hours on one charge and if you play games which are fine with 30 fps you can hit like 8 hours.

Online:

In the handheld mode you can only use WiFi, there is no mobile support with sim slot which is good and bad at the same time but for most people this will be fine. You can use ethernet with the dock which i recomend for any competitive playing... for obvious reasons.

For who it is:

This is the tough question and i think there is no clear answer to it. It's better then Switch in many ways but the same time does lack exclusive titles that you can play only on this hardware like Nintendo has which is a big factor for people considering handheld devices. On the flip side you can play almost ALL PC and Xbox games on it, you can work on it, you can do pretty much anything you want with it, the same like with any PC. Most people at our studio think it is still the best as handheld gaming device and should be viewed as one. It's smaller and lighter than any laptop so you can carry it anywhere you want, the battery life in gaming is also far supperior to any laptop (thou thats mostly coz of weaker hardware). Wiil it beat Switch? Probably not, the reason for that again - it's Nintendo games which people love, like Zelda, Mario etc.... However it will make handheld market much more competitive and open up more options to play on the go.

Feel free to ask any questions about the device.
 
How is actually playing stuff with the controls set up as they are? Analog sticks and buttons at the very top... the first impression just seems so awkward, just like the machine seeming bigger than it actually is.
 

Immortal

Blind justice....
It will get some time to adjust if you never used lets say Elite controllers but in reality it's good. I thought it will be akward but i adjusted pretty quickly. Like i said yes - the first impression is missleading. It's not as big as it seems and it handles well.
 

Gooberking

FGC Cannon Fodder
After taking a better look at the 360's, it does look less dense that I think I was assuming from the front views. Also looks like it would be more comfortable for me personally than the Switch which I can't hand hold at all. Specifically like it may have more surface area on the lower corners where it rests/digs into the hands.

I always worry about built in controls give how fast a serious gamer wears one out, but the fact you can still use it without them helps. It's not like it turns into a multi hundred dollar paperweight if one of the buttons goes out. And you can be intentional about preserving them for times you really need the hand held controls.

I guess my interest is peeked.
 

CrimsonShadow

Administrator and Community Engineer
Administrator
Here’s an updated article with a bunch more details:

(Gyroscope, sleep/resume, can output HDMI over USB-C without dock, etc.)

Apparently it supports Ethernet over USB-C too, so you could game with a wired connection even without the dock if you have the right cabling.