PC Gaming and handheld’s aren’t something that immediately seems to go hand in hand (pun intended). But Valve is looking to change that with it’s new Steam Deck.
Announced today (July 15th), the Steam Deck is a portable gaming device designed by Valve with a simple premise: Take your Steam Library on the go. Described as an “All-in-one portable” for PC gaming, the device boasts some impressive hardware.
With a custom APU from AMD, the Steam Deck boasts the capability to run AAA games, as per Valve’s website. A choice of models with 64gb, 256gb, or 512gb of storage ensures you can store a goodly portion of your steam library on board. This can be expanded with a microSD as well. A 40Wh battery seems to ensure a healthy lifespan, especially if you’re not maxing out the game.
The Steam Deck also features Hi-Fi audio, an expandable I/O with a USB-C socket, allowing multiple peripherals, and WiFi and Bluetooth connections. Built around the Steam OS, the system is able to pause and resume games as seamlessly as most modern consoles.
Is the Steam Deck a Console Killer?
But beyond just a way to play your Steam library on the go, the Steam Deck seems to be Valve’s attempt at creating a console-killer. Shown on their website being used as an alternative to a traditional desktop computer, the device has the capability to be used as a PC, with web browsing, productivity apps, and the ability to attach mouse and keyboard, etc. Conventional PC software can be installed on the Steam Deck, and Valve even states that you’ll be able to install “some other game stores.”
The Steam Deck isn’t the only foray Valve has made into hardware. The Steam Machine, and Steam Controller were released by the company in 2015. Effectively a miniature game streaming peripheral, the Steam Machine connected over network to a PC. It used that machine’s hardware to run games while it streamed the gameplay over the network. The Steam Controller was Valve’s attempt to create a native controller for Steam. However, its use of trackpads drew some criticism.
By 2018, Valve had largely abandoned its efforts in hardware. It no longer offering either the Steam Machine or Steam Controller for sale. However, like its predecessors, the Steam Deck will be available for purchase directly from the Steam platform.
Ultimately, the Steam Deck is a value prospect more than anything else. At an economical $399 for the 64gb eMMC version, $529 for the 256GB SSD version, and $649 for the highspeed 512GB SSD, this is a great entry point for someone to get into PC gaming on a budget.
Buying a PC a fairly daunting prospect, made worse by current parts shortages. This could be the perfect way for kids to get their hands on PC games. And thanks to the hugely respectable lineup of games on Steam (including Dota 2 and CS:GO, both free-to-play), the Steam Deck would be a perfect present for the aspiring PC gamer when it ships in December.