Steam Deck: Valve’s new handheld console explained

Valve will be joining the handheld gaming industry this December with the announcement of their brand new handheld console, Steam Deck. The Steam Deck is going to allow Steam users to take their favorite PC games from their Steam Library and play them on the go. In a sense, they plan on making it their version of a Nintendo Switch, but with PC games instead. However, the Steam Deck won’t be limited to just playing Steam PC games. It will be more like taking your PC on-the-go.

The Steam Deck will have huge amounts of flexibility and in a way will be like you are carrying around your own mini computer. If you don’t like the Steam OS software that is installed onto the console, you can wipe it clean and download the newest version of Windows on it if that is what you prefer. You also won’t be limited to just the Steam store as well. Epic Games, Origin, and the uPlay stores will also be available to download on there too along with other third party stores. The possibilities are virtually endless. If that wasn’t enough, you can even plug it into a computer monitor or a TV and connect it to either of those as well.

Lawrence Yang, a Valve designer, even told IGN:

 “We don’t think people should be locked into a certain direction or a certain set of software that they can install. If you buy a Steam Deck, it’s a PC. You can install whatever you want on it, you can attach any peripherals you want to it. Maybe a better way to think about it is that it’s a small PC with a controller attached as opposed to a gaming console.”

From the early looks and sounds of it, Lawrence Yang could not be any more right.

When does the Steam Deck officially release?

The Steam Deck is set to ship this December 2021. In fact, you are able to put a $5 deposit down on it as soon as today so Valve knows how many people want it as soon as a pre-order is available. In a way, the $5 deposit acts as a pre-order, but instead of paying it off right away the $5 deposit allows you to have one of the handheld console reserved for you come the time to pay it off in full. The $5 that is put down as a reserve goes towards the cost of the console when it comes time to pay it off in full.

How much will the Steam Deck cost?

The price of the Steam Deck ultimately depends on how much storage you want on your console. The cheapest Steam Deck you will be able to get is the 64GB console and that will go for $399. There will also be a 256GB model for $529 and a 512GB model for $649. If none of those storages suit your gaming needs or if you find out you need more storage space, all three options find a microSD card to increase the storage.

What are the Steam Deck’s specs?

First off, the size of the screen itself is a 7-inch LCD touchscreen display. If you are comparing that to the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck is slightly larger but by less than an inch. The Steam Deck will also have 16GB LPDDR5 @ 5,500MT/s of RAM and the CPU is AMD Zen 2. Also, something important to take note of is that if you purchase the $399 version of the Steam Deck, it is built using an eMMC drive. The eMMC drive is slightly slower than the more expensive two versions which run using a NVMe SSD. So ideally, you are better off getting a more expensive version to make things run as speedy as possible.

Everything else you should know

Just like the Nintendo Switch, there will be an option to buy a dock and use it on the TV, but the dock is sold separately. However, if that is something you think would be a good investment to have for not always playing it as a handheld, that option will always be available for you.

Something else to take note of is the battery life. Depending on how much frames you are running and the types of games you are playing you should be able to get roughly 2-8 hours out of a full charge. Obviously, the beefier games that you play will depend on how quickly you will use the charge.

Well, there you have it. A brand new handheld gaming console by Valve that will be coming to us later this year. By the sounds of it, the Steam Deck is really going to give the Nintendo Switch a run for their money. If this console is as successful as it sounds like it is going to be, this is going to be really hard to compete with in the handheld gaming industry.

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