Here's what you need to know.
What is Valve Steam Deck?
Ever wish you could play more of your favourite PC games on the Switch? Well, in July 2021, Valve unveiled Steam Deck, a handheld PC for gaming that could shake up the portable market in a big way.
With the Steam Deck, you can access your entire existing Steam library almost immediately upon logging in. It runs a modified SteamOS, allowing you to download and play games such as Doom Eternal. It also lets you install and operate PC software on it, including a web browser, other game stores like the Epic Games Store, and video-streaming services. It even connects to a monitor and gaming peripherals like a keyboard and mouse, or a controller. And, because of its cloud-saving feature, you can seamlessly pick up game save files between your Steam Deck and PC.
What does Valve Steam Deck feature?
Steam Deck features a 7-inch 1280 x 800 touchscreen for 720p gameplay. It's touch-enabled to let you control suitable games that way, too.
In terms of power, every Steam Deck offerfs the same power 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics. There are three different storage tiers available, though: 64GB eMMC storage, 256GB NVMe SSD storage, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage. You can also expand the storage via microSD on any of the models.
Other features include built-in mics, a gyroscope for motion controls, and a "40 watt-hour battery that provides several hours of playtime for most games". We've also now heard that it'll be targetting 30FPS on games as the minimum expected performance, although that'll surely vary by title.
Steam Deck has two thumbsticks and two Steam Controller-style trackpads beneath the thumbstick that can mimic the feeling of using a mouse. The front of the handheld machine also has ABXY buttons and a D-pad. Similar to the Switch, Steam Deck comes with two shoulder triggers on each side, and there are four back buttons (two on each side) for even more options.
Steam Deck offers access to the Steam library and runs a version of Steam OS that's optimized for mobile gaming. The OS is actually based on Linux. In fact, Steam Deck can be used as a full-fledged Linux computer by more advanced users. Valve said you’ll be able to plug in a mouse, keyboard, and monitor - plus you can install PC software on it, browse the web, and use it to access other game stores. It features cloud saves for the syncing of files between devices, and it has a suspend/resume feature to force the device into sleep mode.
Other features include chat, notifications, and the ability to stream games to Steam Deck directly from your PC via Valve’s Remote Play feature.
Valve plans to sell a dock that you can use to prop up a Steam Deck to plug it into external displays or TVs. It's not required, however, and also will release a little after the console, since it hasn't been shown off yet. Valve said Steam Deck can be plugged into your TV, monitor, or "even your old CRT if you have the right cables.” The Stem Deck comes with USB-C ports that contain HDMI, Ethernet, and USB data, as well as Bluetooth.
How much does Valve Steam Deck cost?
- 64GB eMMC storage for $399
- 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529
- 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649
There are different Steam Deck models priced at $399, $529, and $649 in the US. In the UK, those models are at £349, £459 and £569.
The models and their prices scale up based on your preferred storage and processing speed.
When will Valve Steam Deck launch?
Steam Deck will begin shipping in December 2021.
How to reserve Valve Steam Deck
Reservations opened Friday 16 July 2021 at 1pm ET, initially, for users with purchases on Steam before June 2021, and all three options were available. They still are available now, in fact, although the delivery date is now a far-off one - you'll get your console sometime after Q2 2022 if you reserve one at present.
There’s a refundable $5 reservation fee and a limit of one reservation per person. Keep in mind this isn't a preorder; it simply puts you into a queue to preorder the device. Valve said preorder invitations should go out before December. If you miss the opportunity to preorder for whatever reason, your reservation fee will be refunded to your Steam Wallet.
Where will Valve Steam Deck be available?
In December 2021, the first units of Steam Deck will launch in the US, Canada, the EU, and the UK, with other areas following in 2022.