Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. it’ll begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1 PM ET. It starts at $399, and you’ll pip out in $529 and $649 models also . The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different storage tiers: 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649, consistent with Valve. you’ll also expand the available storage using the high-speed microSD card slot. The Steam Deck features a huge number of control options. There are two thumbsticks, but also two small, Steam Controller-style trackpads beneath the thumbsticks, which could offer you more precision for things like first-person shooters.
The front of the Steam Deck also has ABXY buttons, a D-pad, and a 7-inch 1280 x 800 touchscreen for 720p gameplay. The device also features a gyroscope for motion controls. just like the Switch, it’s two shoulder triggers on all sides, and there are four back buttons (two on each side) also as built-in microphones. As for the battery, “Steam Deck’s onboard 40 watt-hour battery provides several hours of playtime for many games,” Valve says. “For lighter use cases like game streaming, smaller 2D games, or web browsing, you’ll expect to urge the utmost battery lifetime of approximately 7-8 hours.” Valve tells IGN that “You can play Portal 2 for four hours on this thing. If you limit it to 30 FPS, you’re getting to be playing for 5-6 hours.”
And if you would like to pause your game, the Steam Deck offers a fast suspend/resume feature built into SteamOS which will allow you to put the device into sleep mode and devour where you left off later. Valve also will sell a dock you’ll use to prop a Steam Deck and plug it into external displays sort of a TV. You won’t need a dock to plug it into a TV, though — Valve says that the “Deck are often plugged into your TV, monitor, or maybe your old CRT if you’ve got the proper cables.” The Deck comes with fully-fledged USB-C ports that contain HDMI, Ethernet, and USB data, also as standard Bluetooth. You’ll have native Bluetooth audio, something that’s missing from the Nintendo Switch.
On the software side of things, the Steam Deck runs what Valve is looking at “a remake of SteamOS,” that it’s optimized for the handheld’s mobile form factor. But the particular OS is predicated on Linux and can use Proton as a compatibility layer to permit Windows-based games to run without requiring that developers specifically port them for the Steam Deck. Ultimately, though, the Steam Deck remains a full-fledged Linux computer, meaning that more technical users are going to be ready to leap out to the regular Linux desktop, too. Valve notes that you’ll be ready to connect a mouse, keyboard, and monitor, and install other game stores, regular PC software, browse the online, and more.
Valve says the Steam Deck’s features are designed to emulate the regular Steam app on the desktop, complete with chat, notifications, cloud save support, and every one of your library, collections, and favorites kept in sync. And if you would like more power, you’ll be ready to stream games to the Steam Deck directly from your gaming PC using Valve’s Remote Play feature. When reservations for all three versions open on Friday afternoon, they’ll initially be available only to accounts with purchases on Steam before June 2021, during a bid to stay reseller bots cornered. There’s also a refundable $5 reservation fee, and one reservation per person. Your reservation isn’t exactly a preorder, but it does put you in line to preorder the system once there’s inventory available.
In December, the primary units are going to be available within us, Canada, the ECU Union, and therefore the UK, with other areas following in 2022. The preorder invitations are alleged to leave before December, and if you miss your window on the invite, your reservation fee is going to be refunded to your Steam Wallet. IGN also got an interview with Valve’s Gabe Newell, who said that Valve designed the entire system with “very aggressive” pricing in mind, calling it a “critical” and “painful” aspect of development. That’s a special strategy that Valve took with the Valve Index VR headset when it intentionally tried to push the industry forward with what was then the foremost expensive consumer-grade VR experience, at $999. Here, a $400 entry-level Steam Deck comes in only $50 costlier than Nintendo’s new OLED-equipped Switch, which matches on preorder for $350 today and ships October 8th. (Valve swooped in thereon .)
Valve’s Greg Coomer told IGN that ought the Steam Deck succeed, the company’s already brooding about future models and offering the “building blocks” to other manufacturers also. “We check out this as just a replacement category of the device within the PC space,” he said. which may bring back echoes of Valve’s failed Steam Machines initiative, during which it tried to encourage partners to create desirable Linux gaming desktops, but with key differences. This time, Valve has created its own hardware first, it doesn’t get to sell every game developer on Linux ports, and this “category” of PC already exists to some degree: we’ve written about how Windows portables are edging closer to the dream of a Nintendo Switch-like gaming PC.