Thanks to cloud gaming, devices like Nintendo Switch, and console game publishers bringing more of their titles to the PC, the lines between platforms are increasingly blurred. Gamers want to play their favorite franchises on any device at any time. The newest line-blurring device is Valve’s Steam Deck, which essentially takes a PC gaming rig and crams it into a handheld form factor, providing Steam users with access to their full library of games (with some compatibility exceptions) in a portable unit weighing about 1.5 pounds.
Some critics have complained about the less-than-ideal battery life (2-8 hours, depending on usage) and the fact that the 7-inch display is barely high-res, topping out at 1200×800 resolution (just above 720p), but overall, the reception to the Steam Deck has been quite positive. Most agree that for $399, Valve is providing a lot of value, even if it’s not an ideal on-the-go solution.
While sales numbers have not been released, Valve is clearly happy with the warm welcome the Steam Deck has received from the gaming community so far. In fact, Valve boss Gabe Newell noted that that the highest-priced $649.99 model with 512GB of NVMe memory and an anti-glare etched glass screen has been selling better than the lower-priced models, which has encouraged Valve to think about the demand for more power and features in future iterations. To that end, Newell made it clear to Edge that Valve is already thinking about how to improve for a Steam Deck 2.
“They’re basically saying, ‘We would like an even more expensive version of this,’ in terms of horsepower capabilities or whatever,” Newell explained. “You know, that’s why we always love to get something out there and ship it. Because we learn a lot from that, and it helps frame our thinking for [Steam] Deck 2… The second iterations are going to be more about: what are the capabilities that mobile gives us, above and beyond what you would get in a traditional desktop or laptop gaming environment?”
With a firm grip on the PC downloads market (Steam has over 1 billion accounts and more than 132 million monthly active players), Valve is committed to making the new Steam Deck hardware line a long-term success. There’s a strong console-PC crossover already, as Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that 60% of Steam users also own a Nintendo Switch, underscoring that portable gaming is a much-desired feature. The days of “PC vs. console” may soon be a relic of the past.