The gaming company, Valve, has officially announced the Steam Deck which is a handheld gaming PC that will be shipped out starting December 2021. Rumors of a handheld Steam device started to appear back in May of this year and leaks suggested that it was going to be called the SteamPal.
The first thing you will notice is that it looks similar to a Nintendo Switch, and the Steam Deck has slightly larger dimensions than the Switch but it’s more powerful. The Steam Deck has the capabilities of a gaming PC and runs a modified version of SteamOS, but the best part is that players can install third-party applications like non-Steam games and launchers.
The Steam Deck has a 7-inch 60hz LCD screen with a 1280×800 resolution. It features a custom-made AMD APU with a 4-core, 8-thread CPU and 8 RDNA-2 compute units for its GPU. And 17 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Basically, this all means that the Deck is much stronger than the Nintendo Switch as it ran modern games quite well.
Introducing Steam Deck: powerful, portable PC gaming starting at $399. Designed by Valve, powered by Steam. Shipping December 2021.
— Steam (@Steam) July 15, 2021
And like the Switch, the Deck has a controller setup on either side with buttons, triggers in the back, and full-sized joysticks. But unlike the Switch, Valve’s new console has four additional rear buttons that can be mapped however you want and the display is a multi-input touchscreen. Not only that, the Deck has Bluetooth support so that you can connect to a regular old PC or headphones like Apple Airpods and it can be docked- so to speak- to a display.
Models and Price Tag
As good as the Steam Deck may seem, there’s some bad news. It’s expensive. There are three models to the Deck with varying amounts of storage: 64 GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
The 64 GB is $399, the 256 GB is $529 but comes with faster storage and an exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, and the 512 GB has the previous package plus an exclusive virtual keyboard theme and anti-glare etched glass.
In an interview with IGN, Valve CEO Gabe Newell admitted that choosing those price points was “painful” but that it “makes sense” for the company and the future of the new console.
Third-Party Apps and Emulation
The thing that has me and a lot of other people excited is how versatile it is and the third-party support. Let’s be honest here; a lot of people emulate games and the fact that this thing can support is phenomenal. The Steam Deck can run RetroArch which is a free and open-source front-end for emulators, game engines, and other similar applications. So if you’re a fan of retro gaming, the Deck can run tons of games on it.
The Emulation community is about to have a field day with that Steam Deck
— Spawn Wave (@SpawnWaveMedia) July 15, 2021
And if you’re a fighting game player, you can rejoice because as I mentioned earlier, the console’s dock can connect to an external display, wired networks, and USB peripherals like a fighting stick. So, you can play Guilty Gear Strive on the go and it’ll play well, thanks to its CPU.
If you look on social media, specifically Twitter, you’ll see a lot of people jokingly saying that the Steam Deck is the Switch Pro that everyone’s been asking for. Just better.
nintendo: theres no switch pro
— Lulu🌈🎏 (@luulubuu) July 15, 2021
What do you think of the Steam Deck? Wouldn’t you buy one?